Camp Trippalindee

Camp Trippalindee Restaurant Review
by Robin Gray
March 2020

Camp Trippalindee - photo by Facebook

Camp Trippalindee
photo by Facebook

Want some simple food in a fun atmosphere that is off the beaten path but right in the middle of it all? Then head up to the top floor of the Graduate Hotel on Langdon Street to Camp Tripalindee. This food and drink spot boasts that it is inspired by “1980’s camp movies, rural Wisco taverns and the all-out joy of being a kid.” The word on the street it that the name is a take on an impossible type of dive (called the Triple Lindy) that Rodney Dangerfield attempts in the movie Back to School which was set in Madison at UW. When I asked the bartender if that was correct, he said “something like that.” The place evokes summer even in the middle of winter. The ambience it generated in the décor and the menu. The atmosphere is a mix of cabin in the north woods and summer camp. Think mounted fish, taxidermy, oars, and plenty of plaid and you’ll get the feeling of what is conjured at Camp Trippalindee. The wonderful lake view is a bonus. Aside from the inside bar and seating, there is an outdoor patio. It offers heaters when the weather demands them and gas fire pits all aglow year round.

The bar is where you order your food and drink. When I was there recently it was busy, but the bar staff was efficient and friendly. They have a handful of beers on tap and a selection of wine, but the fun gets started with the drinks that play on the summer and camp theme. One of those is the Bug Juice made with coconut rum and pineapple juice for that summer taste and Blue Caracao for that blue hue. To ramp up the fun, it is served in juice pouch with a bendy straw.

The food menu is small and on theme. There are only a few categories on the one paged menu: shared grub, burgers and stuff, things that go on the side, and sweet odds and ends. From the shared grub I sampled the fried cheese curds and the fried pickles.  The cheese curds were basic but good, but even better was the jalapeño spiced ranch that came alongside them. Ditto for the pickles as the spicy aioli was a great compliment to offset the sour from the pickle. From the burger and stuff selections I can recommend the cheeseburger and the chicken sandwich. The cheeseburger, which can be made double, and is served with “special sauce” and shredded lettuce and I would say is reminiscent of a Big Mac with a more homemade quality. The crispy chicken sandwich was super crispy and spiked with kimchee for a boost of flavor. Other options include baked mac and cheese and of course a beer brat. The most fun from the things that go on the side were that the fries are served in a paper bag in the style of fast food. They were crinkle cut fries with a creamy center and a crunchy exterior, which is all I really need from a fry. Finally, there is the sweet odds and ends dessert section with only two options. The s’mores were pretty much expected as they are the required end to a childhood summer or a night of camping. The do it yourself kit can be enjoyed outside over the campfire pit or indoors via a canned flame in a bucket. Either way is an enjoyable end to a night of the fun and flavors of a summer. All this is available to us all year round on the seventh floor at Camp Trippalindee.

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