Restaurant Spotlight
  • South Central Wisconsin
  • October 2012
Written by 

Mermaid Café

There’s something great about going out for breakfast during the work week. It kind of gives you that less-stressed, weekend feeling, even if it’s not.

On a recent morning, I chose a great little place on Madison’s east side in the Atwood Avenue area: Mermaid Café. I’ve passed by many times, and the scene there — with brightly colored outdoor tables filled with people enjoying food and drink — has always caught my eye. The Mermaid Café has been at this location since 2005.

Considering the lovely morning, I decided to sit outside. I ordered my caramel latte and began looking over the breakfast and lunch menus. The quiche of the day, which is usually a variation of classic quiche Lorraine, was still baking, so I decided to go with a breakfast sandwich.

I chose a sandwich called “Oh Mighty Isis,” named after Isis, a woman who worked at Mermaid Café and who created the signature coconut curry aioli that truly makes this sandwich unique. It was served panini style with perfectly toasted bread, fluffy eggs, cheddar cheese, tomato, avocado and the very tasty aioli. The delicious sandwich was just what I needed to get my day off to a wonderful start!

All of Mermaid Café’s products come from local vendors, some of whom have farm markets. Needless to say, everything on my sandwich was extremely fresh and colorful. I appreciate their efforts to buy local!

To satisfy my sweet tooth, I tried the homemade chocolate farm cake. I like chocolate anytime of the day, but at breakfast, you cannot go wrong! Farm cake is a mix between a muffin and a cake, and this one was extremely chocolaty and moist. It also had a cream cheese filling with chocolate chips. This particular recipe came from the “Ovens of Brittany” cookbook. This classic cookbook, which I am proud to own a copy of, has had a great influence on the Mermaid Café’s recipes, as well as those of many other restaurants around the Madison area. The Mermaid Café opened the bakery four years ago, and after enjoying the farm cake, I am so glad they did!

The owner of Mermaid Café, Lisa Jacobson brings a passion and commitment to local sustainability that stems from her family farm upbringing in Sun Prairie. She also worked two years with REAP where she learned all about food systems.

Lisa invites you to stop in for breakfast, lunch or just a quick cup of coffee!


The Mermaid Café • 1929 Winnebago St., Madison • 608-249-9719 • Hours: T-Sa 8-3:30, Su 9-2:30

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