A Great Day-ne!


The Norse Star seniors pose, ready to dig in to their meals.

Living in a town as small as Stoughton, Wisconsin, it’s easy to quickly grow bored of your local food choices. Culver’s grows old, Deak’s gets tiring, and, contrary to popular belief, you can eat too much McDonald’s in your life. On May 9, the Norse Star’s senior staffers decided to take an adventure to the far-off land of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, in an attempt to break the monotonous cycle of Stoughton fast-food chains and try something new. The test subject? Great Dane, a local chain of restaurants running through Dane County.
Pulling into the restaurant’s parking lot, the expansive outdoor dining area immediately caught the Norse Star staff’s eyes. The entrance was a little difficult to find at first for some staff members, but after a short adventure, we were seated. The waitstaff at Great Dane were friendly and welcoming, greeting the staff with a cheery, “Hello there!” upon entrance. The employees quickly accommodated the staff’s need for a larger table, and we were seated with no wait. The no-contact menus provided by QR code were a convenient touch, and definitely helped some staff members feel safe and more comfortable.
The staff quickly decided to order two plates of cheese curds with a side of ranch. The curds were declared delicious all around, and quickly scarfed down by our hungry writers. A variety of drinks were ordered including water, lemonade, and an adventurous Shirley Temple. The lemonade was rated a 5/5 by staff members, who described the drink as “sweet, but not overpowering.” The Shirley Temple was also rated a 5/5, with the person that ordered it describing it as, “Bussing!” The senior then went on to say, “The ratio of grenadine to [soda] was perfect.”

When perusing the menu in search of entree options, the staff found a wide variety of dishes to choose from. Everything from nachos, to dumplings, to burgers and fries, were available. However, after much deliberation, we had our choices and were excited to order. Our seniors decided to request the Chicken Pot Pie, the Jerk Chicken Sandwich, the New London Fish Fry, the Hail Caesar Salad, the Wisconsin-Style Cheddar Mac, the Pan Seared Salmon, and the Pub Burger and fries. The Chicken Pot Pie is a mixture of vegetables, white chicken, and potato made in a crock and topped with a puff pastry. The dish also came with a side of warm cinnamon apples. Staff rated the meal a 3/5, saying that the chicken was slightly dry but the puff pastry was delicious.
The Jerk Chicken Sandwich comes with marinated chicken breast and toppings on a pretzel roll with a side of fries. This was a 5/5 all around, with the senior who ordered it describing it as, “Super flavorful, and not at all dry or chewy.”
Next up was the New London Fish Fry, which came with haddock, homemade tartar sauce, and pub fries (with a few extra toppings for the fish). The fish was given a 3.5/5, as the food was described as, “A bit greasy, but the fries were good!” The Hail Caesar Salad is a delicious Romaine salad topped with Caesar dressing, anchovies, pretzel croutons, and parmesan crisps. The salad received a 4/5, and was reportedly “Very fresh, with a great balance of ingredients!” The perfect portion size was also noted by the staff member.
The Wisconsin-Style Cheddar Mac, a creamy mac and cheese dish topped with cheddar-sourdough breadcrumbs, also came with a soft pretzel breadstick. The senior described the food as “Delicious,” saying, “The pasta was creamy and tender, and the breadcrumbs added a nice variety in flavor and texture.” The dish was deemed a 5/5.
The Pan Seared Salmon is a meal made with salmon, asparagus risotto, grilled fennel, roasted tomato and pepper mojo picon sauce, and toasted almond. This was rated a 5/5, with the staff member saying the salmon was crispy and flavorful. Finally, the Pub Burger–consisting of a fresh beef patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle on a brioche bun–was given a 2/5, as one staff member felt that the patty was a bit dry and overcooked. However, the meal was saved by the fries, which were delicious and quickly eaten by the writers.
Though some of the dishes could use improvement, our overall experience at Great Dane was delightful. The atmosphere was calm and welcoming, our wait staff were friendly and accommodating, and the food was very filling. All in all, this restaurant earns four cheese curds out of five from our Norse Star seniors.