Decor, scones draw crowds to Lazy Jane's in Madison

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By Bill Livick, Special to The Gazette
Thursday, July 17, 2014

MADISON—Lazy Jane's Café, located in the heart of the restaurant-rich Williamson Street neighborhood, is a perennial east-side favorite for breakfast, lunch or brunch.

The café and its bakery next door are the creations of Madison restaurateur Jane Capito.

When Capito opened Lazy Jane's in 2000, she made the cafe a reflection of her own personality, with décor that is quirky and colorful—local paintings and Italian posters, oversized Scrabble tiles for signs and Russian nesting dolls in the windows.

Capito built her restaurant in an old house, which lends the place a certain charm even without all of the owner's personal touches.

Paintings and other interesting paraphernalia are everywhere throughout the two-story dining area. My friend Beth described it as “a lovely, thoughtful mess of original art and banged-up wooden tables.”

Amid the tables and chairs are comfy old couches and overstuffed chairs where guests can sit and enjoy a latte as they read the daily news.

The restaurant specializes in breakfast items, which it serves all day, but it also offers terrific sandwiches, soups and salads. And definitely do not forget the bakery. Lazy Jane's makes the best scones in Madison, and its cookies are also sensational.

The first thing customers see when they enter are glass cases filled with baked goods—all flavors of scones, muffins and cookies. Behind the counter, staffers busily prepare orders. Behind them is a chalkboard listing menu items.

Customers place their orders at the counter and then are handed buzzers, which let them know when their food is ready.

Lazy Jane's is infamous for long lines of devoted diners waiting to be seated. That's typical almost any morning, especially on weekends. It's less busy during the lunch hour. When we visited at noon on a recent Sunday, we found no lines and plenty of available seating and parking.

The café's staffers are especially friendly and upbeat. That, combined with the vibrant colors and great food, makes Lazy Jane's a really inviting place to dine.

Our party of four sampled items from the breakfast and lunch sides of the menu.

The chorizo scrambler ($7.95) is one of the most popular items. It's a nutritious, delicious plate of eggs scrambled with spicy chorizo, generous portions of portabella mushrooms, green pepper, onion and Asiago cheese. It comes with a side of fresh salsa and toast.

Another of the most popular options is the frittata ($7.50), an open-face omelet with broccoli, mushrooms, sweet red pepper, onion and Asiago cheese served with potatoes and toast.

The Works ($6.95) is a breakfast staple: two eggs, potatoes and toast, with a choice of apple-smoked bacon, turkey sausage, pork sausage or ham. The kitchen also turns out wonderful, airy buttermilk pancakes ($2 for one cake, $5.50 for three).

From the lunch side, a friend was happy with a bowl of homemade tomato soup and a half grilled cheese and avocado sandwich ($6.95). The sandwich features Havarti cheese, red onion and tomato along with avocado on sourdough white bread.

The restaurant is especially popular with vegetarians and vegans. But anyone who appreciates tasty, uncomplicated lunch and breakfast meals would appreciate the quality of Lazy Jane's.

If you're planning a visit, be aware that the restaurant does not take reservations and accepts cash only. (It offers an ATM.) Expect a waiting line for breakfast.

Last updated: 8:27 am Friday, July 18, 2014

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