Larry Misleh is a bit bitter. This very magazine passed over the Madison Diner in our last best burger issue. And while the half-pound Big Burger is surely something special—unbelievably juicy griddled ground beef, draped with a slice of American cheese and topped with everything (onion, lettuce, ketchup, mayo, and a fried egg)—it isn’t even his most popular dish.
Belly up to the Madison’s counter for incredible omelettes, pancakes light enough to defy gravity, and chicken wings (fried, not smoked like the ones he does for The Oak Tavern).
But what keeps regular customers—which included the late officer Sonny Kim, who is now honored with a signature breakfast special—coming back are Marcella’s Mud Beans. More than a dozen varieties slow cooked with smoked turkey until they practically melt, served with a side of suh-weet corn bread. You’d think they were lovingly named after Larry’s dearly departed mother or his darling wife, but no. They’re named after a patron Larry banned for life in 2007. Larry’s bean bête noire, Marcella, apparently had a mean streak. The day she compared his beans to mud, he booted her out, named the beans after her, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Madison Diner, 4671 Madison Rd., Oakley, (513) 271-1270. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days.