I find some of the spam I get on this blog funny. Who comments ‘first’ on a post that is a week old?
Jacs Dining and Taphouse
I’m not sure why this place hasn’t gotten more (any) mention in the gluten free dining world of Madison. We wanted to go out for dinner Friday night and I had narrowed it down to Jacs Dining and Taphouse on Monroe St and Coopers Tavern on the Square. In a fit of new behavior, I actually called each place to see how well they could handle me. Normally I just wing it and hope for the best. Jacs had the single best answer I could hope for. When I asked the woman who answered the phone how well they handled gluten free food she told me ‘Oh! There are only three things on the menu we CAN’T make gluten free. We have gluten free bread. And a dedicated gluten free fryer.’ I was sold. We’ll hit Coopers Tavern another night (they can handle gluten free, but weren’t nearly as enthusiastic about it).
It ended up being three friends and the ManBeast and I. While we’d aimed to get there for 7, the place was packed and we were told it could be 45 min until we got a table for 5. The place is pretty small, so it was understandable. They’ve got a decent bar area, but the place isn’t that big, so there aren’t all that many tables you can shove in a small place. We made ourselves cozy at the bar and were served by bar tenders that were actually *nice* and *smiled* at us. Gasp! I don’t know how long it actually was until we were seated, but it didn’t feel like all too long.
Our waiter was knowledgeable about their gluten free menu and was able to rattle it off without needing to refer to anything. Somehow, all 5 of us ended up with one version or another of their 2 burger selections. Their bread comes from the Silly Yak Bakery, which is decent, but quickly becoming nothing special. Unlike Monty’s Blue Plate though, Jacs toasts their bread a bit, which meant that it didn’t fall apart as I was eating my burger. The burger itself tasted like it could have used a bit more flavoring to the meat. However, the rest of what was on it made up for that, as their aioli was quite tasty. Their fries were also quite tasty. Nice and crisp with a fair bit of some mysterious flavor. Even compared to the ones we make at home, they were quite good.
Overall, we gave the place a solid B. The food was good, but nothing out of this world. The drinks were reasonable and the ManBeast was pleased with their beer selection. We did feel their prices were a bit high for the quality of food. That said, we’re still planning to go back to try some of their other dishes. We liked the atmosphere and all the staff we interacted with were some of the more friendly we’ve come across. And I can’t help but want to support local establishments that are HAPPY to accommodate and welcome gluten free diners.
Caveat: While I was fine Fri night, I’ve been off and not feeling the greatest this weekend. I’m showing some mild glutening symptoms, but I have no clue from what. It could have been Jacs, but it could just be something else entirely going on. So as with anywhere, if you’re gluten free and eating out, eat at your own risk and make sure you ask the questions you need to.