has been a fixture in Madison for a long time, dating to the early 20th Century. One step inside the doors, and the historic aura of the pub/restaurant immediately welcomes you with walls plastered with memories of years past.
“If you look at the walls here,” said Judy Mullins, who has owned Poor Herbie’s with her husband, Dennis, and son, Dennis Jr., since 1992, “there’s so much memorabilia that I think you quickly get the idea that there are people that run this business."
Open seven days a week, Poor Herbie’s has amassed a countless number of regulars who frequently fill the restaurant during both lunch and dinner rushes. And while being in business for so many years has certainly made for some good stories within the walls, it’s Poor Herbie’s hearty menu that really tells the tale of what makes it one of the most popular eateries in town.
The menu boasts a wide variety of fare from a turkey club or pastrami sandwich to grilled marinated pork tenderloin or a filet mignon featuring eight ounces of angus beef.
Don’t feel like a sandwich or a steak? That’s OK, because Poor Herbie’s isn’t limited--really. The seemingly never-ending menu has burgers, pasta, seafood and ribs, as well as specials (which, during my visit, included roast duck and mussels marinara, among others).
With a little help from the friendly staff I decided on the bacon cheeseburger, served with American cheese on a toasted Kaiser roll, with a dill pickle spear and homemade coleslaw. Minutes later, my burger was in front of me, cooked perfectly (as was the bacon), along with a side of crispy french fries.
“It’s like having a party and not having to clean up,” Mullins said of owning the restaurant. “We’re a standalone. There’s only one Poor Herbie’s, and we really love having it be our face in the community.”