The plate: Shortly after buying Mickies Dairy Bar in 1991, Janet and Payow Thongnuam deliberated on how to enhance the menu. Their Scrambler fit the bill of a hearty, affordable breakfast dish.
Beginning with a layer of “Yanks” (Mickies’ signature fried potatoes), three scrambled eggs with a choice of one omelet ingredient — bacon, chicken, ham, sausage, broccoli, green pepper, jalapenos, mushrooms, onion, spinach, tomato — are added then topped with a choice of American, cheddar, Swiss, or pepper Jack cheese. Gravy tops the whole dish, or you can opt for it on the side or not at all. With a side of toast, the dish is $7.50; extra omelet ingredients are 50 cents each.
Why it defines Madison: Mickies has been a Madison institution since 1946. The Thongnuams sustain the cozy, hometown, Mom-and-Pop diner feel of the original establishment that encourages people to “step back in time” and savor a hearty, filling breakfast.
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They see a lot of returning customers from UW-Madison alumni and their families to ESPN broadcast crews before game day. Some athletes, musicians and performers eat at Mickies when they are in town; but the only name Janet Thongnuam would “drop” was that of Lyle Lovett.
— Robyn Norton