“Let them eat brunch”
—Marie Antoinette (probably)
Okay, so I sincerely doubt that Miss Antoinette actually proclaimed the peasants of the third estate should be allowed to brunch (Fun Fact: she also never said her infamous “let them eat cake” line but that’s a story for another time.) Anywhoo, I do imagine that the French monarch loved herself some brunch—something her and I would have in common.
Basically, this is my long way around of telling you all that I am ~beyond~ excited that the Lone Rock Bistro and Taproom is now serving Sunday Brunch. As a younger millennial, brunch is speaking my language, and I think it’s so incredibly inspiring to see our rural area introducing something like brunch—and they did it well.
Brunch or not, the Lone Rock Bistro offers a pleasant ambiance, it truly feels like a perfect mix of your local bar where you can catch a few local friends or unwind with a good ole’ Wisconsin brewed beer after a long days work, while also giving the feel of a Madison-esque gastro pub with upscale food and a dark, romantic dining room, separated from the bar area.
The brunch menu featured the typical breakfast/brunch food options with some additional items thrown in to give it that “brunch flare.” It featured the usual entree options with eggs, breakfast meats and toast, in addition to a steak and eggs option, a breakfast croissant sandwich, loaded Belgium waffles, biscuits and gravy and in true brunch fashion, a brunch burger featuring a fried egg.
The menu also gave the option to “build your own” brunch by ordering different menu items ala carte.
In my opinion, the best feature of the menu was the bottomless mimosa and coffee options, which brings into play that upper scale Madison-esque feel to the restaurant. It’s not something you see very often in this area, so I was glad to see it. I opted for the bottomless mimosas, and they were perfect, not too strong for the time of day and consistent in each new one I was poured.
I do wish they had offered pitchers for the bottomless beverages that could be left on the table and refilled as the table wanted. I found that we were finishing our beverages pretty quickly and would have been nice to just be able to refill them on our own, instead of constantly asking the server to run back and forth for a single cup refill, I think it would be more efficient to refill an entire pitcher less often. I think pitchers would make for a more seamless experience for both the customers and servers.
While pitchers are a personal preference, the servers did walk around fairly regularly to refill drinks and were always happy to run and grab me one if I asked.
I also ended up trying a bit of the coffee, and it was good. The Bistro serves the Brewhaha Good Sumatran blend, and it was perfectly balanced, strong enough but not bitter.
Food-wise, I opted for The Lone Rock, which came with two eggs, a choice of two meats, two slices of French toast and a fruit cup. I ordered my eggs scrambled and they were perfectly done, not slimy or too dry. I was a big fan of the option to order two different breakfast meats because I cannot decide between bacon and sausage—and you can’t make me. The bacon was cooked perfectly, crispy but not overdone and flavorless and the sausage had good flavor.
Personally, I’m not much of a French toast gal (it’s a texture thing, and only picky eaters will understand.) To me, French toast is squishy and usually ends up tasting like burned scrambled eggs. I ordered it because I wanted something sweet to go with breakfast and pancakes were not an option, however, despite my reluctance, the French toast did color me impressed.
The texture was still a problem for me (it’s me, not you), but the flavor was delicious—cinnamon-y and vanilla-y and nothing at all like burned scrambled eggs and it was served with Valley Gold Syrup, a syrup made in Lone Rock.
The fruit cup was a nice touch, it had a good variety of different fruits, melons, bananas, berries and you could tell it was made in house.
If there was anything that was a disappointment, I’d honestly say: that pancakes weren’t an option. However, that’s probably a personal preference and most people would be happy with the French toast or waffle options.
I think there’s some room for small improvements, but I’m sure that will come with time and I have no doubt that whatever they do will be good.
Overall, I think they knocked this one out of the park, I love that they are bringing a current trend to the River Valley area so people can stay local for the bigger city amenities that are occasionally nice to have, I love that they use a handful of local products and the quality is there for an incredible price.
—Emile Conlon, Editor-in-Chief
• • •
Well I wasn’t a History minor, so I have no idea what Marie Antoinette had to say about brunch, but to use the words of a recent letter to us here, I ‘bet a dollar to a donut’ that it had something specifically to do with brunch skillets, which was the only major menu staple missing from the Lone Rock Bistro’s brunch debut.
For a restaurant that has delighted with unconventional dinner specials such as Chicken Vindaloo Curry, Jerk Chicken, Yellow Thai Curry and more (along with supper club-esque staples such as New York Strip, Ribeye and the necessary Friday Fish Fry), the brunch offerings were more reminiscent of a small-town diner than a quirky gastro pub. Gone were the Croque Madame, Crepes and Lox. Here were staples: French toast, waffles, breakfast potatoes.
Still missing: the skillets — but we’ll circle back.
Of honorable mention were the Ribeye Steak & Eggs and the Vegetable Quiche. I had the former and thoroughly enjoyed perhaps the best ribeye I’ve ever had. The flavor needed no addition and paired well with the eggs over easy. The eggs themselves stood alone as well, but was marvelous when combined with the steak.
The atmosphere and slow classical music were perfect for a Sunday Valentine’s brunch, and would complement future Sunday brunches just as well.
The Lone Rock Bistro saw a need for more depth in Valley brunch options and is striving to fill it, and it will definitely pay off.
To finish, brunch isn’t truly brunch to me without a good, everything-on-it country skillet — but the bottomless coffee and mimosas were a thoughtful and welcome distraction.
The Bistro has a great thing going and has creative, community-minded people at the helm. To use one of our favorite quotes here, “First make it work, then make it work better” — by adding skillets.
—Quincy Aston-Lott, Managing Editor