There is no question, DLUX is a Wisconsin-spun burger and shake joint. One glance at the appetizers of Fried Cheese Curds, Fried Pickles and Buffalo Chicken Nachos smothered in bleu cheese and it is obvious the menu is locally inspired. Does anyone dare to order a burger without cheese in Wisconsin?
Location: 117 Martin Luther King Blvd in Downtown Madison, Wisconsin
Menu: Sure, you can order a salad here, but the focus is all about the burgers, or at least anything between the bun. Since Wisconsin is the cheese capital of the United States, it makes sense that a variety of cheeses are used. Wisconsin produces over 600 varieties of cheeses, so you won’t find a complete offering in any one place, but it is fun to see how each restaurant incorporates cheese into their menu.
There is the Standard Burger, with American Cheese. You can guess what is on the Black and Blue. Then, there is the Smoke Show with cheddar, onion straws, bacon, and smoked BBQ sauce. The Farm House includes bacon, Monterey jack, and a fried green tomato.
The Sorta burgers include anything between a bun that is not ground beef. Chicken, Salmon, a portobello mushroom or a white bean patty are all options. They are all topped with a variety of cheese, aioli or house in made tomato jam.
Fries are offered a la carte. Again, cheese is the topping of choice. Get them smothered in blue cheese and bacon, sharp cheddar and green onion, or parmesan and truffle cream.
Milkshake choices are creative but familiar. Red Velvet, Salted Caramel Pecan, Toasted Marshmallow, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel, Vanilla Coconut or Soy Cookies and Cream. Using Soy Cookies and Cream ice cream makes the shake vegan, but not necessarily low calorie.
All the shakes except the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel are gluten free although, not necessarily low calorie or low in sugar. You can call it a beverage. It can be served with your meal. Who are we kidding, these shakes are definitely dessert.
If you’re feeling like a grown-up, you can ask the waiter for a recommendation to turn these dairy delights into boozy shakes. I could mildly taste the alcohol in mine and didn’t feel any effects. Perhaps the heavy eating minimizes the buzz.
On Saturdays and Sundays, the draw is weekend brunch for a variety of breakfast sandwiches, cocktails from 2-8 pm, Bottomless Mimosas and a DIY Bloody Mary bar. A traditional Eggs Benedict is served, as well as Fried Chicken and Waffles. Breakfast potatoes replace the fries, but the same cheesy topping offered on weekdays for the fries are available on the breakfast potatoes.
A burger of the month and shake of the month offer a seasonal surprise, challenging the chef’s creativity. I like this concept. It gives regulars a new reason to keep coming back and allows the chef to incorporate seasonal ingredients.
Thoughts: It is the All-American classic. A burger, fries and a shake. So, how creative can it get? You might be surprised. Most of us like cheese on our burgers. So, there is no better place to experiment with cheeseburgers than Wisconsin. Ketchup is the traditional condiment for fries, but if you are in Wisconsin, why not top them with cheese?
In some states, you can’t even order cheese curds, but in Wisconsin, you must, even if the thought of digesting fried cheese makes you cringe. Share an order with the entire table, so everyone gets a taste.
The bright, colorful art of Momentum Art Tech adorns the walls of DLUX. It is available for purchase. The art rotates frequently, which gives patrons another reason to keep coming back. Dinner is also an art show. Art provides a great conversation starter, or a break in between bites while you give the burger and fries a chance to digest.
The art also gives the ambiance of the restaurant an uplift. Rather than looking like a traditional diner, the art collection adds some swank.
DLUX is part of the Food Fight Restaurant Group, a locally owned and operated restaurant group with an ever-growing collection of unique, diverse restaurants in the Madison area.
Price Range: Appetizers $5-9 Burgers $9, Sodas $3, Shakes $5-6, Sides $2-7, Soup and Salad $4-8.
Disclosure: The writer was a guest of the Wisconsin Economic Development Council.
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