The best place to take guests when they show up unannounced on a Saturday morning for the Dane County Farmers Market  is Monty’s Blue Plate (2089 Atwood Ave., 608/244-8505, 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Thurs. and Sun., 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $5–9), an upscale diner on the Near East Side with deliciously art deco cool blue interiors. You’ll find the best synthesis of American meat and potatoes with trendy off-the-beaten-menu items. The chefs are equally adept with meat loaf and tofu and scrambled egg Mediterranean surprise.
It doesn’t feature the usual artery-clogging bar food; hell, it isn’t even pub grub. The Harmony Bar (2201 Atwood Ave., 608/249-4333, food served 11 a.m.–midnight Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-8:45 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $4) is a wonderful approximation of a very casual neighborhood bar that happens to have good food. Formerly an early 20th-century east-side tavern and fish-fry server extraordinaire, the current incarnation has a menu varying from homemade pizzas to walnut burgers. The back room features mostly blues and roots rock on Friday and Saturday.