The Cream of the Crop: Madison’s 4 Best Cheese Curd Spots

The Cream of the Crop: Madison’s 4 Best Cheese Curd Spots

Photo courtesy of The Old Fashioned

By UpNorthNews Staff

March 12, 2024

If you’re a cheese curd connoisseur, Madison is the place to be. Over the last month, more than a thousand UpNorthNews readers cast their votes to determine the cream of the crop, and we’re thrilled to bring you the results. From time-honored traditions to innovative twists, this list has something for everyone in search of the best cheese curds Madison has to offer. Get ready to embark on a delicious journey through the city’s top cheese curd spots, as voted by those who know them best.

4. Curd Girl: Bringing Top-Quality Cheese Curds to the Streets

Cheese curds from Curd Girl

Photo courtesy of Curd Girl

Curd Girl has captured the hearts of Madison’s foodies and tourists alike, making a name for itself in the bustling street food market with its top-tier cheese curds. This mobile eatery prides itself on its commitment to quality, showcasing the very best of Wisconsin’s dairy produce through its delectable offerings. By prioritizing the freshness and local sourcing of their ingredients, Curd Girl ensures that each bite of their cheese curds delivers a burst of authentic, homegrown flavor.

What makes Curd Girl stand out in the Madison cheese curd scene is its innovative approach to this beloved snack. They’ve mastered the art of the perfect batter—a secret recipe that is both feather-light and crispy. This delicate coating acts as the ideal complement to the rich, creamy cheese inside, creating an unmatched texture and taste synergy. Each curd is fried to perfection just moments before it lands in the hands of eager customers, guaranteeing a warm, gooey center encased in a golden, crunchy exterior with every order.

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The magic of Curd Girl lies not only in the exceptional quality of their curds but also in the passion behind their creation. This vendor operates with a food-first philosophy, believing that great ingredients speak for themselves. Their cheese is sourced from the finest local dairies, ensuring that the curds are not only fresh but also carry the distinctive taste of Wisconsin’s premium dairy products. This dedication to excellence is palpable in every bite, allowing diners to savor the authentic flavors of the region.

In a city celebrated for its cheese curds, Curd Girl offers a unique street-side culinary adventure that embodies the spirit of Madison’s vibrant food scene. With its commitment to quality, freshness, and local sourcing, Curd Girl not only serves up exceptional cheese curds but also celebrates the rich dairy culture of Wisconsin. For anyone roaming the streets of Madison with a craving for something deliciously local, Curd Girl’s cheese curds are an absolute must-try.

3. Great Dane Pub: A Madison Dining Staple

Great Dane Pub has long stood as a cornerstone of Madison’s culinary landscape, renowned not just for its robust selection of handcrafted beers, but also for its masterfully prepared cheese curds that have locals and visitors alike singing its praises. What sets Great Dane Pub apart in the competitive field of the best cheese curds Madison has to offer is its unwavering dedication to ingredient quality and freshness—a commitment that shines through in each bite of their delectable cheese curds.

The secret to the success of Great Dane Pub’s cheese curds begins with the selection of top-tier, locally sourced cheese. This dedication to local dairies not only supports the community but also ensures that the curds have a freshness and flavor profile that is hard to replicate. Wrapped in a batter that strikes the perfect balance between light and crispy, these cheese curds are a testament to the pub’s commitment to culinary excellence. The batter’s lightness ensures that it doesn’t overshadow the rich, creamy texture of the cheese, while its crispiness adds a delightful crunch that enhances the overall eating experience.

The frying technique at Great Dane Pub is also a key element in creating their renowned cheese curds. By paying close attention to the temperature and timing, the pub’s chefs are able to achieve a golden-brown exterior that encases the molten cheese within, creating a contrast in textures that is both appealing to the eye and satisfying to the palate.

To complement their cheese curds, Great Dane Pub offers a roasted hatch chili ranch that is as carefully crafted as the curds themselves. The sauce is designed to enhance the natural flavors of the cheese without overpowering them, adding another layer of complexity to the dish.

But what makes a visit to Great Dane Pub a unique experience is the opportunity to pair their exquisite cheese curds with one of the pub’s own handcrafted beers. This pairing elevates the dish from a mere appetizer to a culinary adventure, allowing diners to explore the harmonious relationship between the craft brews and the creamy, savory notes of the cheese curds.

In the bustling culinary scene of Madison, Great Dane Pub has carved out a niche for itself by offering cheese curds that are not just a dish, but a celebration of local ingredients, culinary skill, and the joy of good food shared among friends.

2. Tipsy Cow: A Twist on the Traditional

Cheese curds from The Tipsy Cow

Photo courtesy of The Tipsy Cow

Nestled in the heart of Madison, Tipsy Cow stands out for its innovative take on a beloved classic. This establishment dives deep into the essence of Wisconsin’s culinary traditions by infusing them with a twist that delights and surprises. At Tipsy Cow, the humble cheese curd is reimagined through the lens of local craft beer, creating a fusion that celebrates the state’s acclaimed dairy and brewing industries. Their beer-battered curds become a canvas for showcasing the nuanced flavors of Spotted Cow beer, adding an unexpected depth to the dish that is both novel and familiar.

The curds at Tipsy Cow are a testament to the creativity and care that go into every aspect of their preparation. The batter, light yet flavorful, envelops the cheese in a crispy shell that breaks open to reveal a luscious, creamy interior. This delicate balance of textures is achieved through meticulous attention to detail, ensuring that each bite is a harmonious blend of crunch and melt.

But it’s not just the quality of the batter that sets these curds apart; it’s the interplay of flavors that makes them a standout. The use of local craft beers in the batter doesn’t merely add a layer of complexity to the taste; it serves as a tribute to the vibrant beer culture that thrives in Wisconsin. This unique ingredient choice not only enriches the curds’ flavor profile but also embeds them with a sense of place, making them distinctly Madison.

Be sure to pair your curds with their signature Tipsy sauce, a creation that further elevates the experience. This sauce, designed to complement rather than compete with the nuanced flavors of the beer-battered curds, rounds out the dish with a touch of culinary finesse. It’s this thoughtful pairing of curds and sauce, along with the inventive use of local beer, that captures the spirit of innovation that Tipsy Cow brings to Madison’s cheese curd scene.

Visitors to Tipsy Cow can expect not only a treat for the palate but an invitation to explore the boundaries of tradition. In redefining what cheese curds can be, Tipsy Cow offers both locals and visitors alike a memorable dining experience that bridges the gap between the familiar and the extraordinary.


1. The Old Fashioned: The Best Cheese Curds in Madison

At the pinnacle of Madison’s cheese curd scene sits The Old Fashioned, an establishment that has become synonymous with the state’s rich dairy legacy. This beloved venue stands as a testament to the timeless allure of Wisconsin’s cheese curds, serving up a dish that is rooted in local tradition yet unparalleled in its appeal. The Old Fashioned crafts its cheese curds with an unwavering commitment to quality and authenticity, sourcing its cheese from the best local dairies to ensure every bite is a tribute to the state’s renowned cheese-making heritage.

The magic of The Old Fashioned’s cheese curds lies in their impeccable balance of textures and flavors. Each curd is enveloped in a batter that is light enough to enhance rather than mask the cheese’s natural taste, yet sturdy enough to achieve a crispy exterior. The curds are fried to a perfect golden hue, creating an inviting crunch that gives way to a gooey center. This delightful contrast, coupled with the cheese’s fresh, tangy notes, makes for an exquisite culinary experience that is both comforting and indulgent.

Their unparalleled commitment to quality, tradition, and innovation has earned The Old Fashioned the top spot in the hearts of UpNorthNews readers and cheese curd aficionados alike. Whether you’re a lifelong resident or a visitor seeking to immerse yourself in Wisconsin’s culinary culture, a visit to The Old Fashioned offers a taste of Madison’s best cheese curds that is as memorable as it is delicious.

READ MORE: A chat with Gov. Evers on education, fair maps, and cheese curds


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