Surya Cafe

Surya Cafe is a vegetarian (mostly vegan) restaurant which is also entirely gluten free. To the extent that they don’t serve meat, they are also surprisingly paleo friendly. They do offer duck eggs (provided by the chef’s personal ducks) and a choice of dairy or non-dairy yogurt. They’re very willing to alter recipes to accommodate a paleo diet. For example, swapping roasted veggies for beans in the sweet potato hash, or cashews for peanuts.

I haven’t had a chance to personally try their food yet, but menu options that appeal to me include the zucchini noodle alfredo (cashew sauce, cauliflower, portabella mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus), hearty bowl (sweet potato hash, kale, avocado, cilantro-lime dressing, omit black beans), and duck egg quiche (spinach, sun-dried tomato, mushroom, served with mixed greens). In addition to entrees, they offer a variety of salads, snack platters, soups, smoothies, juices, coffee and tea. Sandwiches can be made as lettuce wraps or with dry roasted mushroom cap “buns.”

The cafe uses simple, pure ingredients, avoiding additives and processed foods, and utilizing local and organic produce when possible. Cooking fats are exclusively coconut oil and olive oil. Surya Cafe seems like an especially good option if you’re dining with a mixed paleo/vegan group.

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5500 East Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg
(608) 788-8448


Although best known for bread and sandwiches, Panera has a “secret menu” of meat & vegetable bowls that are paleo or nearly so.

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2627 E Springs Dr, Madison
(608) 441-7666

656 W Washington Ave, Madison
(608) 354-0525

3416 University Ave, Madison
(608) 442-9994

6637 Mineral Point Rd, Madison
(608) 821-0001

601 Providence Common, Madison
(608) 826-0808

2960 Cahill Main, Fitchburg
(608) 441-8883


Willy Street Co-op Deli

All locations have grass-fed roast beef and pastured ham among the sliced deli meat options, and the Middleton store even has grass-fed hamburgers. Any sandwich can be customized, and lettuce-wrapped on request. Produce is often local and/or organic when possible. Great salad bar & hot bar. Check web site for daily specials: The grain-free chicken curry is excellent, as is the grain-free jambalaya. The seasoned meats on Taco Tuesday are good on lettuce, but even better on the roasted sweet potatoes. Breakfast is served in the morning, featuring local pastured meats and eggs. House-made bone broth from the meat case is occasionally found in the hot soup well. Paleo Mama desserts are available. Full service juice and coffee bar stocks house-made almond milk. As long as you’re there, check out the 90% organic produce dept, mostly local meat dept, and good selection of paleo staples. Indoor and outdoor seating.  Paleo catering available.

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1221 Williamson Street, Madison

(608) 251-6776

6825 University Ave, Middleton

(608) 284-7800

2817 N Sherman Ave.

(608) 709-5445

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Norske Nook

I can’t call this a paleo friendly destination at this time. The place specializes in pies and lefse. Still, they advertise being gluten friendly, and there are potentially grain-free options on the menu. I tried the salmon dinner twice. Once I received overcooked sirloin steak instead. The other time I got dry, luke-warm salmon. Both times, I asked for extra vegetables instead of potatoes, and got a small serving of seemingly canned carrots or peas/carrots, again only luke warm. The side salad was edible with the croutons omitted. I also tried the gluten-free desert option they claim to always have. The first time it was pretty good, if a little chalky. The second time they were out. I’m really hoping they accept my offer to coach them with a few simple tweaks, as it’s a block from my house and could be a great place with a little work.

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Corner of Main and Holum, DeForest


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