The Burgers of Wisconsin
Have Cheeseburger? Will travel. I used a trip to Madison as an excuse to cross a Wisconsin bucketlist burger destination off of my list. Ring's Bar in the tiny town of Plain (Pop. 792) is about an hour northwest of Madison and just 18 minutes from Natural Bridge State Park. Time for a daytrip!
Locals Favorite in Plain, WI
This place totally evaded me while I was at school in Madison otherwise I would've been there as me and my people were always down for a fun daytrip when the weather was nice. Ring's is a prototypical Wisconsin tavern with the exception of one thing. There is no visible grill at the end of the bar and there is no kitchen in back. The reason this place has it's tiny cult following are the cheeseburgers that are cooked in an 80+ year old broilator-like machine. called 'The Star' that was in the bar when it was purchased in 1935. While the burgers are cooking the buns are toasted in an old school toaster sitting next to it. No fries, just chips.
The beef comes fresh from a 60+ year old butcher, Straka Meats, which is directly across the street. Local hand sliced cheddar is one of a few cheese options and it works great. Despite this burger being cooked to a nice medium doneness it was still one of the juiciest/drippiest burgers that I can remember. Much more so than Paul's in Dubuque which is also using an old time burger cooking machine. I waited a long time to try Ring's and I'm glad I didn't forget or lose interest because the end product is one of the best burgers in Wisconsin and thus it's a contender for best on a national level.
Cheeseburger with Cheddar
This made for a great lunch after a trek thru Natural Bridge State Park which isn't all that big but something worth spending an hour or two of your time exploring. This area in general, despite having lots of farm land, is very scenic in the summer and a great place to bike with all of the hills. Ring's also makes for a great 1-2 punch with the aforementioned Straka Meats across the street. They're making some fantastic thick sliced bacon and big in flavor brats. Stay tuned, more to come.
Natural Bridge State Park
950 Alma Ave
Plain, WI 53577