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Pies, pastries and poutine at 4&20, Craft Table & Tap, and Nonna Rita's

Credit:Linda Falkenstein
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Madison's latest bakery is 4 & 20 Bakery & Cafe at 305 N. Fourth St., near East High School, in a new building that also hosts a Milio's.

General manager Scott Spilger says that 4 & 20 has been "quietly open" since Dec. 28, after a preview tasting on Dec. 23. However, the bakery is still waiting on equipment and furnishings. "The space is brand new," Spilger notes, and the process of getting up and running has involved "a lot of little things you never figure out" in advance.

Spilger and pastry chefs Mandy Puntney and Evan Dannells are not newcomers, though - Spilger managed Cafe Soleil, the bakery/cafe on the first floor of L'Etoile at its original location, and Dannells is a former sous chef at L'Etoile.

Spilger and Dannells are trying to open a new restaurant to be called Three Square at 1252 Williamson St., but when that process bogged down, they started looking for a spot where they could have their own kitchen to use for catering gigs. After scouting locations, the Fourth Street space seemed right for a storefront op, too. "It happened fast," says Spilger.

4 & 20 will be serving pies, big ones - "ridiculous caricature pies, exaggerated pies," Spilger explains - as well as scones, cookies, muffins and breakfast sandwiches. Lunch items are being added, but with breakfast fare like sourdough French toast, homemade granola with blueberry purée and yogurt; and scrambled egg, roasted mushroom, spinach, bacon and smoked paprika cream cheese on a sourdough English muffin, who needs lunch?

4 & 20 is open 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, but Spilger underlines that it's still a soft open and that the menu is developing and equipment is still arriving. That being said, the kitchen is already turning out excellent scones.

Craft Table & Tap opened Jan. 4 at 6712 Frank Lloyd Wright Ave. in Middleton Hills, in the former Byrd's Pub & Grill. This latest in the Food Fight group of restaurants takes its cues from the Coopers Tavern on the Square, with 18 beers on tap and 50 in bottles. Magners Irish Cider is also on tap. On the menu: braised brisket poutine, Carr Valley cheese curds, cider-seared Brussels sprouts, and a dozen-some burgers and sandwiches that come with a choice of fries, mixed greens, or mac 'n' cheese.

Nonna Rita's Empanadas and Pastries is scheduled to officially open Jan. 14 at 231 North St. (formerly the site of the Milio's that moved to the new building at East Johnson at Fourth Street). On the menu: pizza, as well as empanadas and pastries, including the Argentine medialuna, a half-moon pastry similar to a croissant.

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