Madison has great restaurants, and you can go years without setting foot in an Olive Garden or Chili's, both of which feature industrial-strength food straight out of a Sysco truck. It's one of the things I hate most about American culture -- the tendency to trade quality for predictability. Most typical Americans would rather have a mediocre meal every time (hence the popularity of Red Lobster, Applebee's, Cracker Barrel, as well as the aforementioned institutions) than a great one that might occasionally challenge your taste buds.
I can state unequivocally that Pizza Brutta is the best pizza I have eaten outside of Italy. Derek Lee, the owner and head pizzaiolo, trained at the VPN (Vera Pizza Napoletana, or "real neopolitan pizza") so he knows his stuff. Derek and his wife Darcy run a class joint...the staff are wonderful, the oven is wood-fired, and I tell ya, it doesn't get much better than this. The next time you eat a Pizza Hut pizza, know that you're eating a soulless piece of dough with strip-mined tomatoes and cheese food product. If you're going to eat, might as well eat good stuff. Irony of ironies -- it costs about the same.
P.S. I previously had the owner as Damon, not Derek, and I have no idea why I screwed it up. Having a name like Darren, I should know better, as I have been called Darryl, Devin, Dylan, Derek, and Damon. Canoelover regrets the error.
23 hours ago