Greenbush is usually synonymous with doughnuts in Madison, Wisconsin. The Greenbush Bakery on Regent Street is a popular quick breakfast destination and over the years has become a local favorite. However there is another Greenbush just a few blocks away that deserves perhaps even more attention. Greenbush Bar, located at 914 Regent Street (608-257-2874) is one of the most hidden and least known restaurants in the Capital city, but it definitely shouldn’t be. With some of the most authentic and best all around pizza in the city, Greenbush Bar should be a household name in Madison and a frequently visited dining option.
Walking into the old brick building that also houses the Italian Workmen’s Club of Madison, you can’t help but get the feeling that you are in the right place for pizza, even if it doesn’t look quite like a restaurant. Upon entering the basement you are treated to a room reminiscent of a VFW hall adorned with Christmas lights, wooden tables, and plastic chairs. Although a bit tacky it has a comforting and neat casual feeling as the smells of garlic and tomato linger in the air. From the smell in the air to the general feel of the dining room you get the feeling that everything served will be made from scratch just like home, which it clearly is. The perfect way to start off any meal here is with an order of their homemade garlic cheese bread, which may very well be the best appetizer in the whole city. Greenbush home makes their “peasant bread” daily and tops it with their blend of garlic seasoning and fresh cheese. It comes with their flavorful pizza sauce that is the ideal mixture of thick and saucy, which makes it functional for dipping and on a pizza.
The menu offers three pizzas; a 12” thin crust, a 16” thin crust, and an 8” thick crust. Both of the crust choices are dusted with a cornmeal finish and cooked to crisp perfection in a 600-degree brick oven pizza. The menu notes that this is the reason for some browning and bubbling of the cheese and sometimes the edges can get slightly blackened, but even this adds another dimension of flavor. The combination of the crispiness from the brick oven pizza and the extra crunch from the cornmeal makes the thin crust a traditional choice. On the other hand, the thick crust gets a well-done texture on the outside while still being soft on the inside, creating a wonderful combination of thoroughly cooked, but chewy dough. Both crusts are so good and deliver such a unique taste that it is hard to choose between the two.
From here the pizza at Greenbush only gets better. The cheese is plentiful and gooey while at the same time being fabulously cooked from the brick oven. The toppings are all fresh and natural with the meats being entirely anti-biotic free. While the toppings can be quite pricey to add onto any pizza and sometimes sparse; they are always worth it. The homemade Italian sausage is traditionally crumbled and like the pepperoni has the perfect amount of spice. The vegetables are all so flavorful that they never get lost in a pie even when combining them with the meats available.
All of these different aspects that go into Greenbush Bar’s pizza are so good that it is hard to find fault in anything the pizzeria does. While they can be a bit expensive the quality that you receive is second to none in Madison and helps make this not only the best all around pizza in the city, but one of the best restaurants as well. It is a shame that a lot more people in the Capital city do not know about Greenbush, but with limited seating, hours, and not offering delivery they have left the market open for different pizzerias to become more popular, although not better.