It’s not every day you walk into a restaurant, that you think probably isn’t going to be that great for kids, and are sat down with a bib and a plastic table cover for your baby… kudos to The Madison Bar & Kitchen for making a great impression before we even sat down.
On Saturday we packed up the kids and made our way down in to the West Loop to hit up Warm Belly Bakery’s Halloween pumpkin painting and cookie decorating event. We always try to support those guys when we can, and it gave us something to do with the kids for the day, so it was a win-win for us.
My brother and his wife live down the street from the bakery, and my parents decided to make a day of it as well, so it only made sense that after we painted pumpkins and decorated/ate delicious cookies, that we found somewhere to have brunch while we were all together.
I had tried to make a reservation at The Madison, for 8 people, earlier in the morning on Open Table, but it looked like they required a credit card for reservations over (I’m assuming) 6 people, which I didn’t really feel like giving them. And on top of that, their phones were set to “closed”, so I just went ahead and made a reservation for 5 people at 12:45pm, and we would just try and call and make the change after 10:30am, when they opened that morning.
10:30am came and went, and their phones were still set to their automated “closed” message, so we couldn’t make any adjustments to the reservation. So while our kids were taking advantage of the festivities offered by Warm Belly, my brother ran over to The Madison and made the update to our reservation in person, which was no big deal. So now we had a reservation for 8 people at 12:45pm, perfect.
Wait… Wasn’t this Old Fifth?
When we arrived at The Madison, it immediately felt familiar… but different. I had definitely been to this space before, but the bar was on the other side of the restaurant, it was a bit more open in it’s floor plan, and not quite as “upscale” feeling…. then it hit me, this space used to be Old Fifth.
We had come to Old Fifth back in 2013 to watch a Bears game and thought the food and service was pretty good… I wonder what happened?
The new space does look great, but it strikes me as odd that they would do all that work to move the bar to the other side of the restaurant, and build a wall in the the middle that sort of separates things into different areas. I remember liking the open feeling that Old Fifth had, and now The Madison feels like the bar area is segregated from everything else, and it makes it feel small.
The design and decor of the restaurant is nice though, don’t get me wrong. After looking at some pictures and looking at the menu, I actually thought it was a little too nice to take our kids to that day, but looks can be deceiving I guess.
The Madison – Brunch
We arrived at The Madison about 15 minutes early for our reservation so they were just waiting for another table to get up so we could be seated. I’m honestly not sure if that table just decided not to leave or what, because the table I could have sworn they kept mentioning, definitely stayed in their seats till well after we were seated at another table they had to put together. Either way though, it wasn’t an issue. We were seated within 10 minutes of arriving.
I had put that we needed one high chair on the Open Table reservation and I was pleasantly surprised when the high chair was already at the table when we went to sit down. And not only was the high chair already there, they had a rubber bib as well as one of those plastic table covers that babies can use to eat off of…
I was impressed.
I’ve had restaurants yell at us for using those sticky plastic table covers, but I’ve never had a restaurant actually supply one for us. And a bib on top of it? Come on…
Even before trying the food, I was already super impressed with the service at this place.
And to think, I was worried that it didn’t really seem like a place for kids… especially on a Saturday when they have bottomless mimosas during brunch… I mean, my only experience with bottomless mimosas was at Fremont’s Boozy Brunch, and that ended terribly.
Don’t worry though, The Madison was not a ‘boozy brunch club’ like Fremont is, they just happened to offer bottomless mimosas in case you didn’t want to pay $9 a piece for them… it definitely was not like a club.
After being seated, I began to look over the menu. I did not partake in the bottomless mimosas, however I did order a single mimosa, which was…. a mimosa… hard to mess that up.
In regards to the food, I wasn’t really sure if I wanted breakfast food or lunch food. By the time we got situated and were ready to order, I think it was like 1:15pm or so, but breakfast food is delicious at any hour of the day, so I was torn.
Obviously I’m pretty picky, so the fancier breakfast dishes didn’t really look all that appealing to me, so it was literally just going to be eggs, bacon and toast if I got breakfast food, so I opted to hit up the lunch side of the menu instead.
The lunch part of the brunch menu had a few interesting things on it. And I almost ordered the sausage sandwich, but I ended up going with…
A burger… of course.
The Brunch Burger comes with mashima reserve wagyu beef, American cheese, bib lettuce, tomato, charred onions, special sauce, yuzu pickle on a potato bun. So naturally I told them to hold everything except the American cheese, and throw an egg on it.
I think most of the table ordered the burger, while my wife got that sausage sandwich I mentioned above, her friend got the strawberry avocado toast, and my sister in-law got a caesar salad with chicken (I believe).
The burger was pretty good. Not like the best burger I’ve ever had in the city, but it was a solid burger for sure. I would definitely order it again if we ever made it back here and I would recommend it if you’re thinking about getting a burger here.
Everyone seemed to enjoy their food and had no complaints. And I certainly didn’t have any complaints.
The Madison did an incredible job of catering to our larger party, while also going above and beyond for our small children. I was super impressed by the fact that they provide bibs and plastic table covers, not to mention having a solid kids menu and chocolate milk, which I can’t say for some other restaurants.
I was skeptical about bringing the kids here, but they proved me wrong. We had a great meal, and if we’re down in the area again and looking for a bite to eat, this place would be up near the top of our list.