Q+A with some of Madison’s best known food carts


There’s absolutely nothing common about this homemade pasta. | Photo by 608today

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Trying to beat the lunch rush on the Capitol Square?

We stopped by three food trucks for a mid-day bite + got ourselves up to speed with the best meals on wheels in Madison.

Common Pasta | Menu + hours

🍝 Isthmus recently rated you the top food cart in Madison. What’s the secret to cooking up such well-received meals in such a small space?
“Everything’s fresh. We make all the pasta from scratch, all the breads are baked right before we get out here every day, the cookies are fresh every day, and I think people really gravitate towards that.”

🍝 If someone comes here with a $15 budget, what option would you recommend to get the best bang for your buck?
“It depends if you want hot or cold. Some people — even in the middle of winter — absolutely swear by our green pasta salad. It’s like a Caprese salad, it’s fresh, it’s the lightest thing on the menu. For hot, the mac n’ cheese is easily one of the best that you’re going to ever have.”

🍝 If you had one item that you saw as your favorite on the menu, what would that be?
“I think the beef short rib ragu is excellent. It’s a steal for $10, I’m not going to lie. There’s a lot of work that goes into making that ragu between caramelized onion and caramelized meat, and a lot of aspects to that ragu that you don’t even see in traditional restaurants.”

Pro Tip: Try the focaccia + make sure you grab a fresh-made cookie for dessert.


We’d tell you what’s in the secret sauce, but then we’d have to… | Photo by 608today team

El Burrito Loco | Menu + hours

🌯 What makes the burritos so loco?
“Well, in Mexico burrito means little donkey and, you know, donkeys are crazy.”

🌯 What is your favorite burrito on the menu?
“The house burrito because of the special sauce, the rice and beans inside, and the flavor it adds with the chicken.”

🌯 Some of your burritos can also be made into bowls. If you could go for a burrito or a bowl when you have the option, what would you do?
“The bowl gives you more rice and can sometimes be easier [to eat], but it depends on what you’re looking for.”

Pro Tip: Grab a bowl for a larger portion size + make sure to add sauces.

Surco | Menu + hours

🌶 What’s the most popular special that you do?
“The first three items on the menu, but my coworker loves the chili chicken. I like the first one [chicken + rice].”

🌶 Could you explain your sauces real quick?
“They go from mild to very spicy. We use jalapeño peppers to make the green sauce, yellow Peruvian peppers for the yellow one — which is sweet and spicy — and for the red one, we use rocoto Peruvian peppers, which are extremely spicy.”

🌶 If someone came here with $15, how do they get the most value for their dollar?
“Go for the biggest size, it makes more sense. People will get the bigger one [container] and save more for later.”

Pro Tip: The rocoto Peruvian pepper sauce is some real deal heat — you’ve been warned.

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