WORCESTER - Sometimes what makes a restaurant sensational is pretty simple. Just serve the kinds of foods people crave, at a price they can afford, in a place they will feel comfortable. That is exactly what they do at Maddi's Cookery + TapHouse.
Brand new to Worcester's red-hot Canal District, Maddi's is a hundred-seat spot, where owner Adam Hicks has created the kind of restaurant he likes, and he is pretty sure you're going to like it too.
"Maddi's Cookery + TapHouse is my vision of a perfect restaurant. It's everything I've ever wanted. It's hardwood floors, custom made tables, amazing food, 20 craft beers on tap, a great place to come and hang out with your friends, hanging out with family."
Everyone is going to find something they love on Maddi's menu.
"This food is food that's great," Adam boasted. "It is the best burger you've ever had. It's a great steak, a great salad, homemade food, sticky bacon, coconut shrimp. It's awesome food. Everything that you could ever want."
It is all made from scratch in the restaurant's open kitchen, cooking up appetizers that average about ten dollars and entrees for less than twenty.
To start your meal at Maddi's, there are lots of great options, but chances are, you're going to order the dish named Stick E. Bacon.
"It's a play on 'sticky bacon.' We skewer Applewood smoked bacon and it has a Sriracha brown sugar glaze on it. It comes out crispy, served warm on a stand. You take it like teriyaki and you just grab it and gnaw on it," Adam descriced. "It's salty, it's sweet, it's sticky, it's warm, crispy, all at once. It's like the best teriyaki you've ever had, but yet, it's bacon."
For a spin on the classic Buffalo Wing, try the Buffalo Chicken Balls with fennel apple slaw, and poblano ranch. For a Poutine like you've never seen, check out their barbecue chicken version.
"Hand cut fries, braised chicken, pickled onions, and we're doing a barbecue gravy. So you get the nice crispy, salty fries on the bottom, gooey cheese from the cheese curds, and then the slow chicken thigh that we braise in the oven for hours on end," Adam said.
Maddi's devotes a big part of the menu to dishes Adam calls Handhelds, but these things are more than a mouthful - especially the monstrous Bacon Jam Burger.
"I'm going to guarantee we have the best burger here in Worcester," Adam said with confidence. "We make a tomato bacon jam that chef cooks for hours on end. We put that on top of our hand-packed burger with cheddar cheese, some caramelized onions, some arugula, some tomato. It's a delicious burger."
The Cajun Shrimp Tacos are everything you want in a taco, right down to the warm homemade chive tortillas.
"Think about a corn tortilla meets a flour tortilla and they had a baby and they put chives in it, and that's what our tortilla is. We're hand pressing them, we're cooking them on the griddle, with some Cajun shrimp, cabbage, cotija cheese, served with our hand cut fries. They're really good shrimp tacos."
For a little Asian flavor, there are Banh Mi Bao Buns with braised chicken. For some kicked-up comfort food, try the Grilled Cheese stuffed with bacon, apple, tomato, and avocado. And for a twist on a delicious deli classic, check out their Pretzel Veal Pastrami.
"We griddle it with some caramelized onions. We put it on a pretzel roll with some melty cheese and we do a sunny side up egg on it," explained Adam. "You pop that yolk, it runs right down the side, mixed in with the veal pastrami and the tang from the caramelized onions."
When it comes to Maddi's entrees, you had better be hungry, especially if you order the creamy Mac and Cheese studded with juicy Steak Tips, or the top selling Fried Chicken and Waffles.
"It's a buttermilk waffle and we put Applewood smoked bacon and cheddar cheese in the waffle iron as we make it," Adam said. "The waffle is salty, a little bit of gooey from the cheese, and a little bit of sweet from the waffle batter. And then we put a jalapeno infused maple syrup with our fresh fried chicken, we stack it up with a sunny side up egg. It's like dinner meet Sunday breakfast."
Chances are you won't have room for dessert, but if you do, the Chocolate Cheesecake Chimichanga is worth loosening your belt for.
"We make an amazing cheesecake and we put it inside of a flour tortilla. We fry it nice and crispy to order. We sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar. We serve it with vanilla ice cream and homemade whipped cream," Adam described. "It's really good."
One bite will have you feeling like a kid again, which makes sense since Maddi's is named after Adam's two kids, Matthew and Addison.
"I put my pride and joy into my kids; I put my pride and joy into my restaurants. Everybody who works here cares about what they do, and they care about putting pride into the food, into the customer service, into the beer program."
You can find Maddi's Cookery + TapHouse at 64 Water Street in Worcester, and online at maddiscookery.com.
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