Mickey’s Tavern on Willy

By Holden Caulfield* (His First Review for Spoofing Willy)

So, they told me it was about time I turned in a restaurant review.

Really? Who believes that stuff anyway? What is wrong with these people? Don’t they know book reviews and movie reviews are a bunch of crap? What makes them think restaurant reviews are any different? These critics that write for papers and stuff are all hypocrites!

Well, I’m not a hypocrite, so if I write this thing I’m going to tell it like I see it and won’t Holden_Caulfieldbe pulling any punches. My editor says that’s fine, but I don’t think he’s got a clue what is about to hit him.

I headed over to Mickey’s Tavern on Willy Street. I got there at about 11:30AM on a Thursday. I don’t know what the hell difference that makes, but my editor said I should include it. Well, there it is then.

I went straight for the end of the bar and bellied up there. I like the end of the bar. You can look all the way down and see what everyone is having. You can definitely tell who’s the real deal and who’s just faking it when you sit at the end.

Josh, the bartender or something like that, came right over and threw one of those round things in front of me. I was expecting him to ask me what I’m having. You know like, “What’ll ya have?” Bartenders are always saying stuff like that.

Well, that’s not what he said. He asked me if I was going to have lunch and I’m thinking, of course I am! What did he think? It’s lunchtime for crying out loud, what else would I be doing there? Maybe he thought I was one of those people that just start drinking at 11:30 in the morning.

I said, “Yeah” and he gave me a menu.

“What will you have to drink?”, was the question he had next and my answer, “What do ya got?

The Beer – Here’s what I found out:

Mickey’s carries micro cans and bottles including: Ale Asylum, Tyraneva, New Belgium, Potosi, Lake Louie, Founders, O’so, Left Hand, New Glarus and the Lagunitas L’il Sumpin Ale.

On tap I saw: Krombacher Weizen, Surly Hell Lager, Spotted Cow and…some other ones, too.

I went with the wheat.

The Menu wasn’t one of these menus that has too much stuff on it. How can you be good at a million dishes? You can’t! That’s just it. The menu at Mickey’s looked manageable enough: apps, salads, burgers, pizza, sandwiches and a few entrees.

Daily Specials that day were some kinda shrimp deal – Tempura shrimp in sweet chili sauce over rice and a Vegan chickpea burrito – with sprouts, cucumber and tomato. I just copied that from the board. I don’t know what either one of those things are.

I figured I’d need some help so I asked what the best stuff to eat was. Josh, the bartender guy, told me that if it’s on the menu, it’s good. “Come on”, I’m thinking. “Not one snoozer on the menu?” He did say that people come in all the time for the World’s Greatest Sandwich. I looked and sure enough, there it was – right there on the menu. It’s “iconic” he said. Well, I couldn’t pass up an “iconic” sandwich for crying out loud.

The World’s Greatest Sandwich – Bacon, lettuce and tomato with Swiss cheese, a fried egg and mayo on sourdough white. (That’s the menu talkin’).

Instead of regular fries Josh said that I should try the Sexy Fries. I don’t know what sex has to do with fries, but my editor is paying for lunch so, “I’ll take the Sexy Fries please!”

Reading the menu again, [Sexy fries are thin sliced potatoes, fried in truffle oil with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.] I better keep that menu close. I also, wanted some soup, also because my editor is footin the bill. So, I asked Josh if he had any iconic soup.

“Yep”, he said. “The coconut squash soup.” Why am I not surprised? “Okay, give me a cup of that, too”’ I told him. I couldn’t wait to have an iconic cup of soup to go with that iconic sandwich. I think Josh was beginning to catch on to the fact that I didn’t believe anything he told me so far. “Iconic”, I was thinking, “Give me a break.”

Well, there I was, sitting at the end of the bar on my first restaurant review. This had to be some kinda joke. I was waiting for a bunch of people to jump out with TV cameras laughing at me because I got punked so easy. The only thing that kept me from getting right up and walking out was that beer. I had taken several drinks and it was a damned good wheat! [Krombacher Weizen]

So, while I’m waiting for my food, I’m starting to look around at the place. It looked like stuff was just put up all over just for the hell of it. I mean, shouldn’t there be some kind of…. theme or something!? My editor said not necessarily. He’s been to Mickey’s and told me that was the effect they were going for.

I didn’t notice it before, but Spike TV was showing Tommy Boy. I saw it right at the point where Chris Farley is saying, “Do you validate?” I didn’t hear it over the music playing, You’re in the Jailhouse Now from that movie O’ Brother Where Art thou? I just saw Tommy Boy the movie so many times I knew what was going on.

I didn’t have to wait long. Josh came out with my soup first. He put it in front of me and wow – I could smell it big time. It smelled great! Josh helped me – telling me that it was the smell of curry. The soup had big chunks of squash, carrots, tomato, celery and onion. I could taste the cilantro and the coconut milk. I ordered the cup but got a huge bowl. I wondered if the bowl came out in a pail. The soup was creamy, chunky, spicy and good all at the same time. Is that a good review?

I got about half way through the soup when Josh brought out the “iconic” sandwich and sexy fries. I hadda push that soup aside to make room on the bar in front of me for the “World’s Greatest Sandwich”. Inside I’m wagging my head, but really, I’m only being half…I needed a word here so my editor told me facetious would be a good word. So, I guess I was only being half facetious (whatever the hell that means).

I took one bite out of that sandwich and Josh started to chuckle a little bit. He could tell by the look on my face that I thought it was a great sandwich and it was! The toasted sourdough and large pieces of crispy bacon went perfect with soft swiss cheese and mayo all topped with a fried egg. Who knew? Who knew that the World’s Greatest Sandwich was right here on Willy Street. Apparently, everybody but me.

Sexy fries were damn good. Like us New Yorkers say, “fogetaboutit”!

I gotta to say, this reviewing restaurants thing is a pretty good gig, when you can get it – and I got it! Ha! I walked away from Mikey’s with a full belly of good food and great beer and I didn’t have to pay a dime for it.

So, if you find yourself around Willy Street and you’re hungry, I got three words for ya – “World’s Greatest Sandwich”.

Mickey’s Tavern
1524 Williamson Street
Madison, WI 53703

*Holden Caulfield is the fictional teenage protagonist and narrator of author J. D. Salinger’s 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye.   Copyright by Little, Brown and Company, Boston
The credit for the illustration cannot be given as it is unknown other than the artist signature on the work which appears to be “Tina Walter 2010”

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