We’re the definition of local
Food Fight is a locally owned and operated restaurant group with an ever-growing family of unique and diverse restaurants in the greater Madison area. Founded in 1994 by Monty Schiro of Monty’s Blue Plate Diner and local real estate investor Peder Moren, Food Fight Restaurant Group combined their creative vision and business sense with a mission of providing the best possible service and experiences for the greater community.
Providing diverse dining experiences to suit the evolving tastes of the community is central to Food Fight’s mission. Monty’s Blue Plate Diner boasts a 1950’s diner atmosphere while right down the street Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace provides flavors of the southwest in an atmosphere that would make you swear you were in Austin. Johnny Delmonico’s is one of Madison’s premiere steakhouses and The Coopers Tavern is known for having one of the best beer and whiskey selections in all of Madison. Rest assured, if there is a cuisine you are craving, Food Fight has a restaurant that will keep you coming back for more. Eldorado Grill has critically acclaimed BBQ, and Cento combines old world Italian traditions with modern techniques. Head to DLUX for really great burgers and Luigi’s for Neapolitan-style pizza. There are always new concepts and restaurants in the works and you never know what avenues we will explore next.
Employees: Our Most Valuable Asset
Our people are fundamental to our success. We invest in their career development and overall well-being by promoting from within, providing excellent employee benefits and offering ownership opportunities to outstanding individuals. We take pride in knowing that our employees are happy. We embrace them, not just as workers, but members of our Food Fight family.
Community and Philanthropy
Our business is about more than providing exceptional dining experiences, it’s about giving back to the community we love. Throughout the year, all of our restaurants donate gift cards, food and services to local agencies and organizations. Be it hosting non-profit events, chef auctions, or special fundraisers, our restaurants continually find new and creative ways to give back to their communities. We have ongoing partnerships with groups like the Second Harvest Food Bank, Centro Hispano and Dane County’s – Meals On Wheels.
Where the story of Food Fight started
Food Fight was born on the main avenue that runs through this vibrant, historic neighborhood. For 25 years we called the corner of Atwood and Winnebago home. But time marches on, and in 2016 Food Fight Restaurant Group outgrew the original office and moved to Monona Drive just down the road.
The Schenks-Atwood neighborhood still feels like home, but the Monona community has welcomed us with open arms. This wonderful sense of community can be felt throughout Madison. That’s why, no matter where we are, we are proud to support our local Madison communities.
Leading means being ahead of the crowd. Thanks to Peder, we were a leader in going smoke-free offering stock buy-ins, and providing benefits such as paid time off to all employees. Even the very first Food Fight restaurant offered an extensive vegetarian menu, well before the term was widely known. That’s what happens when your leader is a visionary who couples imagination with high standards. From the beginning, being a good neighbor has motivated us our actions in this community. When we bought the old Severson’s Phillips 66 Service Station at 2089 Atwood Avenue, for example, we knew its history. We knew that the gas station had been built by Olaf Severson in 1936, and that his nephews, Dick and Dave Havey, had subsequently owned and operated it from 1950 until we showed up in 1989.
So, rather than demolish this local landmark, we decided to repurpose it into a new kind of gathering spot — an authentic neighborhood diner with a modern twist. We filled it with creative nods to vintage diner design, and we added fresh, locally sourced versions of traditional comfort food to the menu.
Thanks to the people of Schenks-Atwood, the restaurant was a hit. And pretty soon patrons were coming from all over Madison to order their favorite meal or try something new. It wasn’t long before the restaurant everyone calls “Monty’s” or “The Blue Plate” anchored the renaissance of one of Madison’s greatest neighborhoods.
Original Food Fighters
In late ‘94 Food Fight was established to provide administrative services for four independent restaurant businesses we operated at the time. Restaurants were in Monty’s blood––dishwasher at 13, busboy at 14, waiter at 16, manager at 21 and he opened his first restaurant in Minneapolis at 24. After three years he returned to school (but still held a restaurant job). It was destiny when he met Peder Moren, Connie Maxwell and Joe Krupp, who had just purchased the Havey Brothers Gas Station in Madison. After a 30 minute conversation, Peder and Monty were able to strike a deal and Monty’s Blue Plate Diner was born. They remodeled and expanded the old gas station into a retro diner––serving imaginative, contemporary food with a large vegetarian selection.
Now with many unique concepts, every day is a new experience. You may ask––what is the icing on the cake? The boasting rights. When you work at a Food Fight restaurant, you’ll get used to hearing “This is my all-time favorite restaurant!” We never get tired of hearing that. It feels good to be part of what makes Madison such a great place to live.
President and Founder
Entrepreneur at heart, big believer in staff empowerment, all-around idea guy. Monty’s first restaurant job was with Amato’s Holiday House as a teenager. He worked through the ranks as wait staff, catering staff, and manager at various locales. While still managing the first Food Fight restaurant, he came up with the concept for a second one. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Director of the Board
Leading means being ahead of the crowd. Thanks to Peder, we were a leader in going smoke-free, offering stock buy-ins, and providing benefits such as paid time off to all employees. Even the very first Food Fight restaurant offered an extensive vegetarian menu, well before the term was widely known. That’s what happens when your leader is a visionary who couples imagination with high standards.