Restaurant Review: 4 & 20 Bakery
Caryn Kindkeppel, Clarion staff
April 25, 2012
Filed under Arts & Culture
As the old nursery rhyme goes: “Sing a song of sixpence, pocket full of rye, four and 20 blackbirds, baked in a pie.” With a mural on one wall depicting blackbirds flying around a tree, 4 & 20 Bakery and cafe clearly had that rhyme as inspiration for their new restaurant at 305 N Fourth Street, near Madison East High School.
The cafe officially opened in early January and caters to breakfast and lunch-goers and those who seek from-scratch pastries. Their scones, homemade “Pop-tarts” and specialty pies all look delicious. In addition to the cafe, they also sell wholesale baked goods to small-town restaurants in Madison’s outlying areas.
Despite being small with only a handful of tables inside, the cafe is open, airy and freshly remodeled. One of the owners, Scott Spilger, works the cash register and is friendly, helpful and dispenses background information about the cafe. The menu isn’t posted online, but they have the daily menu at the order counter. There are several local and organic items on the menu, often including the name of the farm that the item that came from it, such as the New Century Farm organic eggs.
The food descriptions are appetizing and definitely slant towards high-end, with items such as herbed goat cheese and braised pork belly as a couple of the sandwiches on the lunch menu. The breakfast items include a breakfast sandwich with havarti cheese, roasted red peppers and spinach, as well as house-made granola with cranberry compote and local yogurt. Since it’s near the high school, some popular items may be sold out if one arrives too late, such as the Banana Bread French Toast.
One appetizing lunch item is the Cuban sandwich ($8.50,) made with the star ingredient of pork belly that has been braised (covered and cooked at a low temperature in a flavorful liquid) slowly for 17 hours! The sandwich also contains ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, pickled red onion and a Cuban-style “mojo” dressing of mayo, oregano, and orange which really accents the sandwich. The toppings come on a crusty, fresh ciabatta roll from Madison Sourdough, which is just a few blocks away on Willy Street. The lunch sandwiches are served with a pickle and a side of chips or mixed greens dressed with house vinaigrette.
Another lunch entree is the grilled cheese sandwich ($7) with provolone, oven-dried tomato, cream cheese, hothouse tomato and spinach on wheat bread. The sandwich is full-flavored, with the tomatoes nicely complimenting the cheese and nutty wheat bread. A side bowl of potato-leek soup ($3) is a good accompaniment to the sandwich, with a satiny smooth texture and rich, creamy taste.
One eye-catching pastry item is the house-made “Pop-tart” ($2.50.) Though similar in size and shape, this pastry beats the Kellogg’s version in all respects: flavor, flakiness and freshness. The strawberry version is tasty, sweet and holds more filling and flavor than its namesake toaster pastry does. The glaze on top of the flaky pastry adds the final bit of sweetness.
The pastries are definitely worth trying and they are big enough to share both the enjoyment of eating as well as the inevitable large amount of calories they contain. The iced coffee and ice tea drinks are refreshing (around $2.50,) and are also a good complement to a lunchtime meal.
Overall, the cafe serves great tasting sandwiches and food with a higher-end bend. They also serve delicious pastries for those who care to indulge, and the coffee and tea drinks are a great accompaniment to the food. The prices are a bit high for a quick lunch bite, but it feels great to support a local up-and-coming cafe. It’s clear that the owners obviously care about quality, with their local and organic mindset and great-tasting food, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
4 & 20 Bakery and Cafe
Location: 305 North 4th Street, Madison, WI
Payment: Credit Cards accepted
Price Range for Entrées: $4.50-8.50
Cuisine: Breakfast, Lunch, Pastries
Restaurant Hours: Monday through Saturday, 7a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.