Plus, a new West African restaurant opens this week.
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Today’s Forecast

67º |11% chance of rain | Sunrise 5:33 a.m. | Sunset 8:13 p.m.

🌳 In a nutshell
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Fortune Favors, formerly Nutkrack, has a new production facility to help with growth. | Photo via Fortune Favors (Sunny Frantz)
Madison’s Fortune Favors, formerly Nutkrack, is growing in national prominence. The candied pecan company’s products can now be purchased at more than 700 retailers in all 50 states.

To add to the company’s growing recognition, Fortune Favors nuts will appear on an upcoming episode of “Top Chef: Wisconsin.” We suspect that episode may air tomorrow night at 8 p.m.: the episode preview suggests an indigenous element, and pecans are the only major tree nut that grows naturally in North America.

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Fortune Favors’ production facility has room to grow in Cottage Grove. | Photo by 608today

Before making appearances on major cooking shows, however, Fortune Favors started in 2018 as a small shop at 2086 Atwood Ave. Co-founder Eric Rupert, former executive chef at Epic Systems, started the business with his son and Jessica Benish, its current COO. It quickly garnered a cult following.

“Madison people are incredibly supportive,” said Scott McDaniel, Fortune Favors’ CEO. During the throes of COVID, he said, people would literally bang on the Atwood store’s door fearful that it would close.

It didn’t. Sales doubled and doubled again.

“People are hardcore,” McDaniel laughed in the warehouse. “You need that backyard support.”

To keep up with demand, the business rebranded to Fortune Favors in 2023 and moved from the cramped confines of the small retail store to a 19,000-sqft facility in Cottage Grove.

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Fortune Favors’ facility has a one million pound production capacity. | Photo by 608today

McDaniel is excited that the new facility, with a production capacity of one million pounds, can keep up with the company’s continued expansion. In the new space there are offices for staff, a meeting space, a larger production area, a large warehouse, and more storage capacity, all of which were inadequate at the Atwood location.

Growth is coming on quickly. Being highlighted on “Top Chef: Wisconsin” will help.

But, as McDaniel said, “It’s not about the pecans. It’s about the people.”
How do you pronounce pecan?

A. Pea-Can
B. Pea-Con
C. Peh-Can
D. Peh-Con
Tuesday, May 14
  • Trivia Night | Tuesday, May 14 | 7 p.m. | The Rigby, 119 E. Main St., Madison | Cost of purchase | Get discounts on beverages while wowing people with your brain.
Wednesday, May 15
  • John Prine Tribute Concert | Wednesday, May 15 | 8-11 p.m. | The Bur Oak, 2262 Winnebago St., Madison | $15-$18 | The Don Harvey Duo, from La Crosse, pays tribute to one of America’s most beloved singer-songwriters.
Thursday, May 16
  • The Many Facets of Love: Understanding Consciousness and Connection | Thursday, May 16-Friday, May 17 | 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. | BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, 5445 E. Cheryl Pkwy., Madison | $300 | The International Forum of Consciousness brings people from a wide range of disciplines as they dive into the complex nature of love.
  • Greenway Station Farmers Market | Thursday, May 16 | 8 a.m.-1 p.m. | Free | Greenway Station, 1650 Deming Way, Middleton | Rain or shine, there are plenty of opportunities to buy produce, food, and more from local vendors.
Friday, May 17
  • Syttende Mai Festival | Friday, May 17-Saturday, May 18 | 9 a.m.-10 p.m. | Downtown Stoughton, 532 E. Main St., Stoughton | Free | Celebrate all things Norwegian in Wisconsin’s most Norwegian town.
  • Battle of the Bands | Friday, May 17 | 6:30-11 p.m. | The Loop, 202 E. Main St., Sun Prairie | Free | Find out what local youth band will reign supreme, all the while supporting the nonprofit Sunshine Place.
Click here to have your event featured.
News Notes
  • Due to Canadian wildfires, the Wisconsin DNR issued an air quality advisory through midnight tonight. Sensitive groups, including older adults and young children, are advised to reduce prolonged exposure or heavy exertion.
  • Les Delices de Awa, a new West African restaurant, opens tomorrow at 2045 Atwood Ave. Owned by Ivorian Awa Sibi, menu items include jollof, stews, and grilled fish.
  • Childish Gambino is coming to Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum on Wednesday, Aug. 14. His “New World Tour” also features Willow. Tickets go on sale this Friday, May 17.
  • Sustain Dane will offer its “Recycle Better” course in person (registration required) for the first time ever on Friday, May 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Taking place at 821 E. Washington Ave., the course highlights the importance of recycling and how to do it correctly. Food will be provided.
  • After a decade of effort, the Madison Children’s Museum will host the international conference of the Association of Children’s Museums this week. Over a thousand attendees from around the globe will attend to discuss the various aspects of exhibiting to families.
  • If you’re a fan of Kwik Trip’s Blueberry Dunkers, you’re in luck. The gas station will drop a limited release of Blueberry Dunker-flavored potato chips starting Saturday, May 18. Last year, Kwik Trip produced over 9 million Blueberry Dunkers donuts. (WKOW)
  • Local TikTok celebrity Mercury Stardust started a podcast with Basil Forest, creative director of Mercury Stardust Media. “Basil’s Book Bugs” highlights books written by transgender authors.
🇺🇸 Memorial Day commemorations
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VFW Post 8216, located in Middleton, will honor those lost in combat during the Memorial Day weekend. | Photo via VFW Post 8216
Memorial Day, the time we honor and mourn the US military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, is Monday, May 27.

Here’s how to commemorate the holiday locally:

Solemn Pride Memorial Day | 9:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | Forest Hill Cemetery, 1 Speedway Rd. | A VFW Band Concert begins the tribute at 9:15 with patriotic tunes, followed by a 10 a.m. ceremony.

Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony | 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. | Lakeview Park, 6300 Mendota Ave. | Hosted by VFW Post 8216, the solemn event will give attendees a moment to reflect on sacrifice.

Monona Memorial Day Parade | 10 a.m.-11 a.m. | The parade begins at Monona Grove High School and finishes at Sennett Middle School.

Click the button for four more events and local VFW information.
The Buy
Clinique’s Take The Day Off cleansing balm makeup remover. This balm’s silky, buttery formula dissolves long-wearing makeup and sunscreens — and it’s one of the brand’s best sellers.
The Wrap
Jonathan Shipley in a red T-shirt.jpg Today’s edition by:
From the editor
I’ve always liked nuts. Growing up with not a lot of money, it was quite something when mom would buy a big can of fancy mixed nuts to share. The nuts were delicious, minus those big ones that no one likes.
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