Our family has called the Emerson East neighborhood home for about 10 years now. For about 8 of those years we jokingly referred to it as an “up and coming” neighborhood. Union Corners stood empty, just a pile of bricks waiting for inspiration, small homes a shadow of the former glory days of Oscar Meyer, and only a corner restaurant or two existed that we felt comfortable enjoying as a family.
If the current array of food offerings are any indication, that is changing fast. The Malt House draws crowds of craft beer lovers who relax on the patio throughout the summer. The Tip Top Tavern reopened under the ownership of Ben Altschul and now serves the neighborhood. Crostini’s is always busy making sandwiches, paninis, pastas and more, and Jade Mountain is a welcome spot for high schoolers who love the variety of smoothies and dumplings. Dexter’s is a great gathering spot to watch sports and grab a burger. 4 & 20 Bakery and Cafe was another great addition to our neighborhood, packed on weekends, and perfect for a lunch meeting during the week. Sadly, it is closing its doors this weekend for the final time after owner Mandy Puntney’s sudden passing. We will never forget what you brought to our community, Mandy! I am certain more good things are in store for that spot.
The opening of Ogden’s North Street Diner then is serendipitous. This most recent culinary addition to the neighborhood stands at the corner of Commercial and North Street, diagonal to the Tip Top Tavern. If Ogden’s soft opening is any measure of its success, this warm and bright diner will be hopping by the time it officially opens tomorrow (Saturday May 6th) at 8 am.
My husband and I stopped in and right away felt at home with a mix of young and older guests, many of whom have lived in the neighborhood for years. Cari Scott, co-owner with her husband Will Tracy, is herself from the ‘hood. Her grandmother first moved to this area in 1929 at the age of 11. Cari says that her uncle even worked in the building when it was a grocery store in the 50’s. Cari’s mom, who stopped by for breakfast, reminisced, “I remember he used to sell soda in glass bottles.”
Ogden’s is named after Cari and Will’s dog, the mascot, whom you may see in their yard adjacent to the back of the diner. They offer a solid array of breakfast and lunch fare, including egg and tofu scrambles, quiche with a to-die-for crust, pot pie, grilled cheese and veggie burgers. The dessert pies are not to be missed– they hail from Will’s grandmother’s blue ribbon recipe!
Cari has worked in the service industry for a while, managing restaurants for Jane Caputo, owner of Lazy Jane’s. In fact, Jane supported the opening of Ogden’s; she originally purchased the building and land. Cari and Will then bought from her when all their “financial ducks were in a row.” Cari says “This neighborhood has been under-represented for a long time…It’s on the upswing now, and I want a place people can enjoy and where everyone feels welcome.”
Ogden’s North Street Diner
560 North Street, Madison 53704
Hours: Sat & Sun 8-2; Mon, Wed-Fri 7-2:30.
Breakfast & lunch