Willy Street Tour features Ethnic and Artisan Eats
We are very happy to have added Gib’s Bar to our Willy Street Ethnic Eats tour! In fact, perhaps we should retitle the tour Willy Street Ethnic and Artisan Food and Drink? Nah.
Anyway, here’s a little bit about the locations we visit on this popular tour! This tour is great for vegetarians, gluten free folks and we can offer vegan options at most locations.
Co-owned by Pram and Julie Adriansjach, Bandung is Madison’s only Indonesian restaurant. Julie and Pram opened Bandung about 10 years ago, and expanded their space to include the Nutty Bar, which is where our tastings are held. Julie is most often there to talk to our group, while her husband is in the kitchen “cooking each order that comes in himself.” I’ve actually spotted him once, so I know he exists. Sometimes their son is there after school as well, helping out (need to fact check that). Guests love not only the delicious food that we sample and its beautiful presentation, but also the cocktails that include fun ingredients such as pandan leaf and star anise.
Opened by Underground Food Collective in 2012, the butcher shop is in a former blacksmith workshop. A butcher case with fresh meat frames the back of the shop while beautiful sausages made a block away, cheeses, crackers, and various sundry items fill the remaining space. Delicious grab n’ go sandwiches are available throughout the day. Guests on the tour enjoy the charcuterie samples so much, they have been known to buy an entire sausage and eat it on the way to our third stop.
Who doesn’t love to hang out on some comfy couches at home and drink amazing cocktails? Those of us who have kids, or can’t make cocktails or despise cleaning up after a party, I guess. That’s where Gib’s Bar comes in. Located next to Grampa’s Pizzeria, which is also owned by Gib’s owner Gil Altschul, drinking a cocktail at Gib’s is like throwing yourself a party, without the stress. Talented bartenders mix fabulous drinks, which you can enjoy upstairs or downstairs of this renovated home. Or on the stairs if you choose. And they make fabulous non-alcoholic drinks as well.
When Markos Regassa opened Buraka after what seemed like a million-year hiatus, and a 20+ year history in Madison, people showed up in droves. And no wonder. Ethiopian food is delicious, and Markos has made it palatable to American tastebuds. Savory stews, tangy injera bread, cool salads and a fun vibe are all found at Buraka. We enjoy samples of three different dishes – typically a meat stew, vegetarian stew and lentil salad. When the weather cooperates, the outdoor patio is the perfect place to enjoy our food.
Lao Laan Xang:
You can still find “Tao” Bounyong Inthachith in the small kitchen cooking, though her kids insist they want her to retire and relax. Her daughter Christine now heads the Willy Street restaurant which they opened together in 1997, while her son Sone runs the Atwood location. Bounyong and her family came to Wisconsin in the 80’s after fleeing their war-torn country of Laos. She had learned to cook in Buddhist temples back home, and found that cooking was a way to earn a living in their new home. Christine continues the tradition and sources produce from many local Hmong farmers who also help to cook. We sample a savory dish from their popular menu, as well as a homemade dessert. Sometimes Christine sends out an “off-menu” item which is super fun!