Who Has Madison’s Best Cheese Curds?

You may be asking yourself, how do you even go about choosing the *best* cheese curds in Madison??? With so many menus across town having these as a mainstay and our great state producing the best cheese hands-down, crowning one final winner of the “Best Cheese Curds” category was hard work, to be sure.

Back in the midst of March Madness, we asked YOU to write in and tell us who you think has the best cheese curds around town. We then ran the numbers and presented you with the top ten to make a vote on:

  1. Craftsman Table & Tap
  2. The Old Fashioned
  3. Graze
  4. Charlie’s On Main
  5. Heritage Tavern
  6. Tipsy Cow
  7. Buck & Honey’s
  8. Liliana’s Restaurant
  9. Curd Girl
  10. Lucille

Those votes helped us narrow down our cheese curd competitors to the final four:

  1. Graze
  2. The Old Fashioned
  3. Craftsman Table & Tap
  4. Buck & Honey’s

Finally, thanks to your tireless efforts and online voting, the top two competitors went head-to-head for the crown: Buck & Honey’s and The Old Fashioned.

Neil Mathweg in front of Metcalfe’s Market before heading out to determine who has Madison’s Best Cheese Curds.

On a cool, rainy day, our judging committee set out in style, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Metcalfe’s, to determine which restaurant would be the champion of the cheese curds.

Arriving in Sun Prairie first, we were given a behind-the-scenes tour to find out how Buck & Honey’s makes their cheese curds. Starting with Sassy Cow Creamery cheese curds, they’re given a light dusting of flour, dipped in buttermilk, and coated in panko. After a quick jump in the deep fryer, they’re plated, sprinkled with shaved parmesan, accompanied by ranch and marinara for dipping, and sent out to hungry customers. Buck & Honey’s cheese curds definitely make a nice, long, gooey string on first bite.

From there, the committee loaded the bus and headed down to the Square to give The Old Fashioned cheese curds a try. These curds are much smaller in size–you can munch on several in one bite–and had a little less crisp, a little more grease. They’re served with a special sauce that pairs well with the seasoned flavor of the curds.

Mariah Haberman at Buck and Honey’s in Sun Prairie, working hard to determine who has Madison’s Best Cheese Curds.

The judges had to make a decision fast as we headed back to Metcalfe’s to deliberate and cast our final vote. Good news was they had a lovely fruit plate and sandwiches waiting for us to soak up some of that greasy bar food. It’s a rough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

While everyone agreed The Old Fashioned still has street cred for a pretty awesome burger and amazing atmosphere, the judges cast their votes and the winner was crowned in a near-landslide decision:

  1. Chris Attaway — Epicurean Chronicles — Buck & Honey’s
  2. Kevin Metcalfe — Metcalfe’s — Buck & Honey’s
  3. Jodi Lyon-Grams — Metcalfe’s — Buck & Honey’s
  4. Candice Wagener — Isthmus, BRAVA — Buck & Honey’s
  5. Dave Heide — Liliana’s & Charlie’s on Main — Buck & Honey’s
  6. Helen Feest — I Love Madison contributor — Buck & Honey’s
  7. Rachel Werner — BRAVA — Buck & Honey’s
  8. Mariah Haberman — Discover Wisconsin — Buck & Honey’s
  9. Sandy Joudrey — Realty Executives Cooper Spransy — The Old Fashioned
  10. Laura Portz – Visit Madison – Buck & Honey’s

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