In September of 2017 I started a project documenting various buildings in Madison, Wisconsin. It all started when a beloved bakery in the building I used to live in closed down and I felt the need to preserve it in some way. The Buildings of Madison (formerly The Madison Project) is an ongoing attempt to draw as many of Madison’s buildings as I can. This page will be updated each time I finish a new building illustration.
Prints are available in the shop.
If you’d like to request a specific building I haven’t already illustrated, let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
821-823 East Johnson Street
Two beverage purveyors can be found in this building. On the left is Macha Tea Company, a cozy little spot for all kinds of teas and pastries. To the right is The Robin Room, a hip little cocktail bar full of wood beams, old lamps, and carefully crafted cocktails.
831 East Johnson Street
I used to live above this place. Sophia ran her cafe for over 20 years before closing up in July (2017). It was a tiny space with a ton of character. But it would fill up quick so they’d let me bring my own plate that I could take back up to my apartment. They were only open on weekends for breakfast, and their menu depended on what local ingredients they picked up that week. People came from all over Madison to eat breakfast here. The city isn’t the same without it.
701-705 East Johnson Street
The Caribou Tavern is a special place. It may attract people from all over Madison, but it’s a neighborhood bar. Sitting next to a laundromat and a fifteen minute walk from downtown, the neon glow of its sign is a beacon of comfort. A much welcomed solace in the midst of a long Midwestern winter. It’s a place where the bartender always greets you with a smile. And while other watering holes struggle to handle a small crowd with a full staff, bartenders like Winslow make handling a packed bar look effortless. The Caribou is a place where you can stop in after work for a much needed burger and a beer. And later on the weekend find yourself belting out songs with people you just met. It’s a place you’ll always feel welcome in an ever changing and fast growing city.
902 East Johnson Street
Madison Food Mart is the only general store in the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood. It’s a pretty standard little convenience store, serving everything from canned goods, ice cream, cigarettes, beer, and a handful of miscellaneous produce items. It’s locally owned and open fairly late. The man behind the counter is usually watching reruns of old shows on a little tube TV propped up in a corner. If you stop in, make sure sure to ask him to show you the tape from the time he chased an armed robber out of the shop.
23 North Pinckney Street
Here’s another Madison staple: The Old Fashioned. All the items on the menu come from different places all across Wisconsin. It sits right on the capitol square and is almost always packed every night of the week. And while it’s hard to say who has the best cheese curds in town, The Old Fashioned’s paprika dip is definitely worth trying with some.
511 State Street
Dough Baby was a great local bakery in a tiny shop on State Street where you could grab a coffee and some very delicious and creative donuts. They held events like Doughnut Pizza where they made pizza using doughnut dough, and Drunken Donuts where they served booze inspired donuts. I really enjoyed the Bourbon Eggnog and the Brandy Hot Chocolate. It’s always sad to see a local business close down, especially one that clearly had so much passion put into it. I’ll miss you, Dough Baby. And I’ll forever regret never trying one of your homemade Pop Tarts.
908 East Johnson Street
For the longest time, this place was the only coffee shop in the area. But as more places pop up and encroach on their territory, JPH continues to stand out. One reason is because it’s a hipster joint. Which basically means the coffee takes a while to make and will cost you a couple bucks more than other places. But if you’re in the mood for a really great cup of coffee, it’s well worth it. And if you aren’t feeling meticulously crafted bean juice, you can sit down at one of the big wooden tables with a mug of tea or a bottle of beer from the fridge.