Sometimes you just want to have dinner in the most casual place you can find.
A restaurant where there are no expectations or pretensions, maybe something a little out of left field where the quirky meets the super laid back.
A place where you could, potentially, run into someone like “The Dude” of “The Big Lebowski” fame.
That pretty much describes Famous Yeti’s Pizza in Stoughton.
The restaurant has never taken itself too seriously, but it’s no slacker when it comes to the food. In fact, its pizza is terrific.
Whether it’s a crispy thin-crust or a hand-tossed stuffed pizza, Yeti’s pies are always handmade from scratch, and they’re consistently satisfying and filling.
The kitchen also puts out good salads and grinders (five choices for each) along with extras such as garlic and cheese bread and a pretty good selection of bottled beers.
Owners Cale and Caitlyn Ryan opened Famous Yeti’s in 2012 after working in the Madison food scene for several years. They created their own recipes and menu at Yeti’s, and they did the same when they launched the popular Wendigo restaurant on Stoughton’s Main Street in 2015.
While both are named for mythical creatures, Yeti’s is definitely the more casual and peculiar of the two. The restaurant’s walls display odd images of the Big Foot creature posing with movie stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Yeti’s is located in a small strip mall and is situated between a gas station and a liquor store. Its staff is friendly and accommodating, and at least half its business is take out.
In-house customers place orders at a counter, and the food is delivered quickly to your table. The staff promises to make pretty much whatever kind of pizza pie you want, so just ask.
In addition to the usual ingredients, pies can come with such toppings as handmade sausage, giardiniera mix, chopped garlic, spinach, fresh basil, artichokes, anchovies, arugula, feta cheese or fresh mozzarella.
But when it comes to pizza, the stuffed pie is the hands-down winner. Start with the spaghetti and meatballs stuffed pizza ($17.50 for 10 inches or $23.50 for 13), a surprising treat with its garlic crust and savory, spicy meatballs.
The Bumble’s Best pizza includes the superb homemade sausage with a marvelous mix of pepperoni, garlic and green olives.
Even better, according to a Stoughton friend who frequents the place, is The Guido: a stuffed pie with pepperoni, salami, artichokes and a mix of spicy pickled vegetables. This pie offers a more complex range of flavors than the Yeti spaghetti, with pockets of sweet, tart and hot provided by the giardiniera. (Beware: Those bits of pickled veggie can be very hot indeed).
Famous Yeti’s offers some decent craft beers to put out the fire, including Central Waters Glacial Trail IPA, Lake Louie Warped Speed Scotch Ale, New Glarus Spotted Cow and New Glarus Staghorn—all at $3.50 per bottle. You can also get Schlitz and Miller Lite at $2.50 per bottle.
Sandwich choices include three with meat and two vegetarian options (8 inches for $7). They all come on pillowy Italian rolls with crispy crusts.
A beefy meatball sandwich comes with a tomato-based sauce and three cheeses, while the fluffaletta includes ham, roasted artichokes, olive spread, roasted peppers and provolone cheese. The Virgil is a piquant treat with melted cheese and three kinds of salty meat (salami, ham and pepperoni).
I love the Caprese sandwich for its simplicity and fine flavors, combining Roma tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and balsamic vinaigrette. It’s like a salad between two slices of bread.
Actual salads come in five colorful varieties that all use romaine lettuce as the green and a balsamic-Dijon vinaigrette dressing ($4 for small or $8.50 for large).
Anything that contains the kitchen’s handmade sausage is a good bet. The sausage exudes a strong hint of fennel, which combines with other herbs and spices to make it an in-house feature.
Make no mistake, Famous Yeti’s is nothing close to fine dining—and that’s at the heart of its appeal.
If you should find yourself in the Stoughton area with a yearning for good pizza in a super-relaxed setting, Famous Yeti’s could be just the place for you.