While I can't quite say that I've been a regular at the Cooper's Tavern in the last 3 years since I moved to Madison, I can say that I've eaten there fairly regularly. And after the first couple of years of repeatedly asking about gluten free menu options, I'm really pleased that a few months ago they actually put together a GF menu.
So in appreciation, I thought I would share a few of my favorite gluten free options from The Cooper's Tavern on the capital square.
Oh, and some other things I like about the Cooper's Tavern are:
a) the view. If inside, we often like to sit along the window area (the upside is that this is many people's least favorite spot because the chairs are stools and have no back, and therefore often available seating) so if you like to people watch, this is an excellent spot to do it. There's always something happening around the capital building.
Also, sitting outside is very pleasant. There's a nice view of the capital, especially at sunset (check out my photo below)
b) the staff. They're always nice. Even if they're super busy.
c) a good selection of GF beer and cider. They currently have a couple of different types of Green's GF beer, Estrella Damm Daura (the Daura is technically gluten free, as the gluten has been stripped away and meets the GF standards of most countries. I personally have no problems with it and think it's a great beer, and taste the most beer-y of all GF beers I've tried. However, after scouring the internet, it seems that the very very small percentage of gluten in the bottle has caused some people some problems, so proceed with caution).
The cider I'm most fond of at Cooper's is the Magner's they have on tap. It's a dry cider without much sweetness. I've also tried the Magner's Pear Cider and found it too sweet for my liking, but others who like a fruity cider might enjoy it.
d) Lots of local food support. Cooper's has local food nights, and I always like places that go local.
So that leads us to the food.
1. The above photo is of the Goat Cheese Polenta with vegetables and some sort of red pepper glaze (I think). I loved this and wolfed it down. The polenta was firm but with a creamy, melt in your mouth texture thanks to the goat cheese, and smooth. The veggies were perfectly done and tasty.
2. I've also had their Beet Salad (twice), and enjoyed it.
3 & 4 I've had their vegetable sandwich and the tuna nicoise sandwich, sans bread. While they have GF options, unfortunately they don't yet offer GF bread, so their sandwiches are more like salads. Which is fine, but it would be nice to see them offer GF bread at some point, as many places in Madison are now doing.
5. Another of my favorites dishes is the Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with blue cheese (yum). This is also a super cheap, yet filling option. I've asked for it with the GF house chips on the side instead of bread and usually they comply.
Now again, how about that view?