Stalzy's Deli (Madison WI)
Do I have your attention now?
A few weeks back I went to a wedding in Madison and while researching my travel route on Google Maps I found Stalzy's Deli
, located on the SE corner of Atwood and Hudson Avenues. With Mrs. Chicken out of town for the weekend this past Saturday was a good day to check it out.
It's a cozy place with friendly people, and I got a very definite "neighborhood" vibe.
The bearded fellow at the far right is one of the owners, although his name escapes me at the moment (I want to say Gavin but can't be sure). He's from Waverly, Iowa, and reminds me of actor Chris Pratt ("Andy Dwyer" of NBC's "Parks & Recreation").
Can't be a deli without a cold case!
Max Asnas founded New York's Stage Deli. Next time I stop by I'm going to have to remember to ask if the album has been copied to tape or disc.
OK, enough of the atmosphere...I really did go to Stalzy's to eat! I couldn't make up my mind between the corned beef or the pastrami so I ordered the combo, which is served warm. The meat was saltier than commercial products (Stalzy's does all its own brining, curing, baking, etc.) but I didn't find it objectionable, although first-time visitors might want to ask for a taste before ordering a whole sandwich. It's available as "regular" (which I ordered) or "lean", which costs a little more.
The mushroom barley soup posted on the specials board had caught my eye earlier so after finishing the sandwich I ordered a cup, which turned out to be excellent. I associate beef with barley but didn't miss it at all as the mushrooms provided good flavor, but I didn't ask if it was a completely vegetarian soup.
Lou the counterman was talking to the co-owner and mentioned that he had a dream that involved the white bean and sausage soup. Maybe he did or maybe he was just trying to sell me on it, but either way it worked. The beans were firm but not too hard and with the sausage this was a richer soup than the mushroom barley, and just as good.
Do I have room for potato pancakes? Well, maybe a bite or 2 before I take them home and save them for later. Lightly crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside with just a hint of onion flavor, these were very good and that night I reheated them in a pan with a little bit of butter. They were served with apples and house-made kraut.
Stalzy's also serves breakfast and since this was Saturday it meant I could return on Sunday for just that.
I chose the breakfast sandwich with ham, although bologna would've been an interesting option. Cheese, meat, an organic egg (bonus points for it being a little runny), and I think a touch of mustard on house-made bread made for a very good start to the day.
Turn down a chance to try the bacon? I think not! The pieces were smaller than what comes out of the package found at the supermarket but the flavor was outstanding.
I wrapped up breakfast with an order of potatoes, which are small redskins cut into dice and cooked (I presume) on a flat surface. Not overdone and mushy nor underdone and hard, they were cooked and seasoned just right; the countergirl told me that she really likes them and her recommendation was on the money.
Speaking of money, it does cost a little bit to eat at Stalzy's but in my opinion the quality level justifies it and I wouldn't hesitate to make the 47-mile round trip again or suggest it to someone looking for a place to eat.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that credit cards are not
accepted - cash or local check (with ID) only. There is, however, an ATM for those who get caught short.
post edited by ScreamingChicken - 2012/10/31 09:10:28