A few months ago, while walking downtown after work, I noticed some activity on the corner of Bagot and William Streets. The windows were papered over and a new sign for “Madigan’s Restaurant and Deli” had appeared. I was intrigued: who was moving in? The seemingly ill-fated location had once been home to the Limestone Garden Grill and, most recently, an Italian restaurant, both which eventually succumbed to the fierce competition faced by downtown eateries. Nestled between downtown and City Park, the location is great for area residents and a quick walk for Queen’s and KGH employees on their lunch. However, it is likely too off the beaten track to get much traffic from Princess Street, or tourists in the summer.
I was happy to see that a new restaurateur was going to try their luck with this location, as it is a beautiful spot and I’m always excited to try new places. A few months later, Madigan’s opened and has since been steadily busy and garnered rave reviews from patrons. I knew I had to try it out.
Madigan’s is a combination take-out/sit-down restaurant that, according to its Facebook page, “brings fresh style, culture, and food to the heart of downtown Kingston.” Open Monday-Saturday from 7:30am-3:00pm, it is targeted to breakfast and lunch crowds (although I’ve heard they are extending their hours) who are looking to either quickly pick something up to go, like their famed dark roast coffee or a house made muffin/scone, or sit down and order from the menu. Specialties include house made soups (served with house made Irish soda bread), delicious sandwiches and decadent desserts. The menu includes everything from short-rib poutine, to red curry and Guinness pie, and an Irish Breakfast for those who are especially hungry. Where possible, all of the ingredients are locally-sourced and many of the items are house made on sight.
A few work colleagues and I decided to try Madigan’s for lunch this week. We arrived around 12:15 and the place was busy, both with take-out orders and patrons sitting inside. We sat ourselves and were quickly brought menus while we remarked at how cozy it was inside with the exposed limestone and wood finishing. While it was hard to make a decision (everything sounded delicious), I settled on the shaved beef wrap (beef, cheddar cheese, corn salsa, roasted peppers, chipotle and guacamole) for $8.95 and added a soup of the day, which was butternut squash, for $3. My colleagues ordered the shaved beef wrap with fries, and the roast chicken sandwich (roasted chicken, brie, tomato, mixed greens and coleslaw) for $6.95 with soup, respectively.
There was a bit of a wait for the food (something to consider if you only have an hour for lunch), but when it arrived, none of us were disappointed with what we ordered. The presentation was spot on and everything was fresh and flavourful. The portions were not huge, but big enough that one leaves satisfied. One highlight was the excellent quality of the meat used in the sandwiches (such as real roasted chicken breast versus luncheon meat/rubbery chicken breast). Another was the fries, thick cut potato wedges that put others I’ve had to shame, and served with a house made ketchup with just a hint of curry.
Although we were all satisfied, we couldn’t leave without bringing one of the house made desserts back to the office. Daunted with the choice between a brownie, Nanaimo bar and shortbread, we chose the “millionaire” shortbread which was a shortbread cookie bottom topped with a caramel layer and Belgium chocolate for $3. A bit too sweet for my tastes, it was nonetheless fresh and there was not a crumb to be found when we had finished.
I was really impressed with my experience at Madigan’s and I look forward to going back to pick up one of their scones and trying their coffee. My lunch came to about $13. While not inexpensive, I felt the quality of the food was top notch and my dining experience was really pleasant. I hope this place does well, and from the looks of it, it is! I bet there won’t be any crumbs on your plate, either, if you give Madigan’s a try!