Patrick O’Halloran is current owner and head chef at Lombardino’s and The Tipsy Cow in Madison, WI. Lombardino’s is a small Italian inspired restaurant known for its seasonal menus, fresh ingredients, and Italian wine list.
Located at the corner of King and Main streets on the capitol square, The Tipsy Cow was previously known as King and Main. After several incarnations in the last year, O’Halloran changed the menu, kitchen and the patio to meet the public needs for high-end, high quality bar food.
Patrick was introduced to the restaurant industry while he was an art student at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. He began waiting tables and eventually left art school so that he could move out of the front of the house and into the kitchen. After securing a position at Shully’s Catering as a chef’s apprentice, he was given a whirlwind practical education while he also took classes at MATC. When he first moved to Madison, he and his wife started a catering business to raise money to buy Lombardino’s.
In 2000, O’Halloran and his wife took over ownership of Lombardino’s. Located at the corner of Walnut and University, Lombardino’s was a restaurant that had become a longstanding Madison tradition. Beginning with a small core Italian menu of eight pasta dishes, O’Halloran transformed this Italian dive into a local foodie heaven. When neighbors brought homegrown tomatoes to the back door, O’Halloran founds ways to incorporate the fresh produce into nightly specials. He forged a partnership with Fraboni’s sausage in Monona to supply sausage for the restaurant. O’Halloran continued to build on this foundation. Eleven years later, Lombardino’s shifts its menu six times throughout the year to highlight Madison’s best produce, cheese, meat and eggs.
Though the menus shift, O’Halloran has maintained the Italian style of cooking with a Midwestern flair. In the beginning, they were trying to be “hardcore Italian” and using recipes from old school Italian cookbooks. As they have relied more on local specialty items, Lombardino’s has developed their own version of Italian cooking. O’Halloran describes it as “our own hybrid of upper Midwestern Italian” with olive oil from Italy coupled with Wisconsin cheeses, produce and meats.
- Lombardino’s regulars will notice three recurring dishes throughout the year. O’Halloran referred to these as the Lombardino’s Holy Trinity: Eggplant Parmesan, Orecchiete with Fraboni’s Sausage and Rapini, and Spaghetti Alla Bolognese.
- The Fraboni/Lombardino’s partnership is so strong that two out of the three Fraboni children have worked at Lombardino’s.
Parking during Construction:
Don’t let the construction deter you from going to Lombardino’s. Parking is available after 5:00 pm at Susan Sez clothing store and at the VA hospital just North of the Campus Drive overpass.
The Tipsy Cow
After opening the King and Main, O’Halloran heard a common refrain from the customers. Where are your burgers? Where are the French fries? In response to public demand, O’Halloran rechristened the corner bar into haute Wisconsin bar food. He traveled the state going to local bars and combined Wisconsin traditions with high-end ingredients. Burgers are made in the Green Bay/Sheboygan tradition: Knoche’s meat is cooked on the griddle and served with raw or fried onions, five year aged Cheddar, a grilled bun and a slab of butter. Order this with the truffle fries and blue cheese (one of the five types of French fries on the menu) to enjoy the best of Wisconsin’s ingredients and bar food.
While the food celebrates Wisconsin, the restaurant celebrates Madison. During Concerts on the Square, stop by the patio for some craft beer on tap and carry out picnics. The Holstein-themed patio offers fantastic views of the Capitol and the energy of the vibrant downtown.
Tipsy Cow Weekly Specials:
- Monday: Half price buffalo wings & fries and Team Trivia.
- Tuesday: Two for one burgers.
- Wednesday: Half price sausages (O’Halloran recommends the spicy slaw dog).
- Friday: Fish Fry.
Cooking with Patrick
Click here for a quick go-to gourmet meal from Patrick that will make you re-think Ramen noodles.
Click here for an Italian twist on an American classic and one of Patrick’s recent favorite taste discovery.