During my time in Central New York, I have come to enjoy the surprises that this gorgeous country have to offer. Whether it was the scenery, the strange music venues, or mom and pop diners, I always seem to find the jewels in the rough. One that exceeded the standard was a little place I found in Wampsville, New York. Madison Bistro. Owned and operated by Victor Ramirez and Lisa Campanie, they are setting the standard in their area for how restaurants should be operating. The food, the atmosphere, you feel like Guy Fieri is going to show up at any minute.
Opening the doors in 2010 Madison Bistro holds the bragging rights to being farm to table before it was cool. I asked Victor about how this came about and he said: “we were operating with store bought beef for awhile and one day we ran out. We decided to contact a local supplier to buy a little ground beef to get us through a day or two until we could get the order in. That one juicy burger made with local beef was so delicious,” he said, “that is all it took to sell us on the idea that we needed to source everything locally.” Since then they have operated with a local first mindset. Victor and Lisa are as down to earth as you’ll find in the restaurant business. Stepping into Madison Bistro brings comfort and makes you feel like you already know Victor and Lisa even before you get the chance to meet them.
Growing up in San Antonio, Victor learned to cook from watching his grandmother cook traditional Tex-Mex dishes such as Menudo, Mole, Barbacoa and of course homemade flour tortillas. With over 30 years in food service, Victor prides himself in making everything from scratch; his bread, pastries, sauces, soups, and even smoked chew bones for your dogs. People swear by his sandwiches and house made potato chips but he is one of the very few restaurants in the area that does true Mexican food and Texas BBQ, in addition to other interesting cuisines. Victor loves letting his roots shine through in his dishes.
Madison Bistro touts the only Taco Tuesday in the area, Thirsty Thursday, where you get a Burger and Brew combo, and operates a super eclectic dinner menu Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Lisa, a homegrown local to Oneida, assists with day-to-day operations, cooking and keeps Victor grounded. He says he tries to use everything he can and be a no waste kitchen so as to bring the best food for the lowest price. Madison Bistro is doing so many things so well that it’s hard to fit it all into one article, but that is all the more reason for you to get out and go to Madison Bistro and see for yourself!
~ Author, Micah