“It’s fun, a little funky, it’s upbeat, there’s definitely a lot of energy in here. […] you see robots and donuts and everything. So it’s things people know and are comfortable with, but a little bit more exciting,” General Manager Michelle DuVall describes her Madison-based breakfast eatery, Bassett Street Brunch Club.
An old-school diner dipped in a Star Trek-flavored candy coating, Bassett’s lustrous interior is a reflection of its singular style. The robots Michelle mentions are the artwork hanging on the wall next to the sit-down counter, spacious booths, and full bar. Soul music fills the glossy, futuristic eatery. The team correlates to the kind of vibe that Bassett has been able to maintain over the last five years. “We have a lot of young staff just by nature of being downtown and by the college and they come with a lot of energy, but even for someone with low-energy you’re gonna have to bump it up.” To tie it together, Michelle has made sure the food matches the feel of the space.
“The idea was always to do classics with a twist,” she explains. Not only does Bassett have a robust menu with eggs benedict, breakfast hash and more, DuVall and her team have put their own unique spin on things to provide a one-of-a-kind breakfast experience. Their creative take on eggs benny is still served on an english muffin but with roasted tomatoes, Italian salsa verde, hollandaise, and crunchy candied prosciutto. The fresh-from-the-field Farmer’s Hash comes with roasted sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and parsnips sautéed with onions and rosemary, perfect for a flavorful and healthy counterbalance to sweeter fare. Everything here is familiar, yet overwhelmingly exclusive to this particular restaurant.
One of their most popular items is their Coconut Cream Pie French Toast. It’s a base of challah bread french toast, topped with coconut whipped cream, coconut flakes and fresh berries. The coconut is able to provide a bit of balance to the berries and whipped cream so you aren’t downing tablespoons of granulated sugar.
They also boast new burritos, fully capable of filling you up when you aren’t feeling a griddled goody. The Hot to Tot Burrito has scrambled eggs, crisp and crunchy tater tots, avocado and onion. But DuVall insists as good as the tots are, there’s a different main attraction to this event. [The] tomatillo salsa comes on the side. It is good. It rocks, I’ll even just put it on scrambled eggs a lot.” And she’s right. It’s an excellent topping to go with an already tasty dish.
Sitting at a cross section of bustling students and working stiffs, the restaurant lends itself to a combination of college life and business folk. Whether you’re a freshman looking for a Saturday morning breakfast or a recent grad out for brunch, this is a spot you can make your own. “[…] you see the students come in, and then they leave, but then new ones show up and you start all over again,” DuVall says. “Get a good breakfast any time of day. We don’t close at 2pm; we’re open seven days a week into the evening. You can kind of get all of it and whenever you want.”
DuVall keeps her focus forward on ways to improve the menu, dining experience and more; she’s always looking on ways to draw in new customers, but keeping the loyal ones she has. “The ideas are just figuring it out as you go along. Sometimes you’ll bring something to the table and it’s like ‘oh yeah, that really works, let’s do that.’” Luckily, there are some delectable menu items being added to Bassett’s already impressive list.
The CrossFit Games take place during the first week of August in Madison, WI, drawing elite athletes from across the world. Naturally, someone would think to draw in those types of people you’d have to go with a very health-conscious, lean and green menu. But Bassett learned from last year’s events that more than anything they just want as much food as possible.
“[Last year] they were ordering two entrees a piece; they were just eating a lot of food. So we have chorizo tacos coming up for the CrossFit menu, and a nice 12-ounce breakfast burger with tots on the side.” But the pièce de résistance might be their specialty eggs benedict. “The beef bacon benedict. It’s no english muffin. It’s a beef patty with bacon and egg and then salsa on it. It was a best seller last year, so we’re bringing it back. It’s gonna be a good one.” Adding and experimenting at Bassett is a staple of what makes it successful. Luckily for customers, no idea is ever off the table.