Let’s Build a Community, Let’s find COMMON GROUND!

winne the pooh goodbye5/26/20

In a time of unparalleled upheaval across our little blue marble, it has truly been a wonder watching humans come together while apart – to lift each other up, to work together for those who cannot, to work long hours feeding the homebound from the frontlines of our markets, & even longer hours caring for our ill and our fallen when we could hardly care for ourselves.

And through all of this, many have persevered. Some have not. It is understandable to be physically one of the fortunate not to have yet suffered as so many already have, only to be stricken down by the fear and pain that has inevitably rippled across the globe. I have lied alongside strangers in distant hospital beds, gasping for breath and wishing there were more that I could do to help. Wishing I could hold their hands so they would not have to go through this alone.

And then I open my eyes to my own reality, with all of my daily minor misfortunes now feeling so very small and insignificant compared to the vantage point of my little glowing rectangle of information that keeps me connected and informed to the rest of the world. Some days I can read the news. Some days I cannot. Every day I feel grateful to the individuals that have brought food and necessities to my doorstep so that I could stay safe at home with my young children. I am grateful to my husband who has been able to continue working & providing for our family, and grateful for all of the essential humans pushing forward alongside us, all in our own way.

Now with the world slowly opening back up like a lovely bloom in spring, with each of it’s inhabitants cautiously peeking their heads out to have a look around (or charging like a bull through the streets of Spain) – it has been a joy seeing the updates from fellow small businesses that they will be once again opening their doors to visitors. It will be uplifting indeed, to see others out and about from the safety of our six foot bubbles, greeting each other from masked faces and to see how others are doing beyond their short social media updates.

This hiatus has given me the time to really step back and contemplate the future of Common Ground. With everyone else announcing their new hours and protocols I have finally gotten the nerve to let you all know that it is with an unbelievably heavy heart that we will likely not be moving forward in our current state at the corner of Branch & Century Avenue. It would be easiest to blame this solemn misfortune on the global pandemic, but in reality we were financially floundering before all of this came about. It is exorbitantly expensive & difficult to get a small business off the ground, and I would be remiss if I didn’t warn any future entrepreneurs of the true financial, emotional and physical toll it takes to really build up a small business from nothing. It is possible that we could keep trying to push forward, but with being turned down for the SBA EIDL loan & the inevitable slower business we would face upon reopening, I simply cannot risk putting my family any more in debt to try and keep this big old rickety ship sailing toward our likely inevitable financial demise. The building, which I do love so dearly- is very expensive to rent (though I had been working toward trying to purchase, that unfortunately had not yet come to pass). With a commercial lease, we have had to pay for endless repairs & replacement of very old equipment out of pocket over the last 2+ years. Believe me, if I could pick up the brand new water heater and haul it away with me, I would. But soon there are bigger & even more expensive repairs coming. And this is all not to mention the high costs of everyday business expenses- cost of goods, licensing, endless fees & taxes, staffing, etc etc. The reality of the situation is that it would be at this point irresponsible for me to try and keep pushing forward. If only I could cover these expenses with the love and pure joy that comes from our beautiful gatherings – from the live music, the classes and workshops, the yoga sessions and writers groups, and so on- we would be rich indeed. But alas.

Throughout this quarantine, I have been quietly cycling through all of the stages of grief and loss. It is not a life I am losing, and for that I am grateful- but boy it sure does feel that way to me sometimes. I put my whole entire self into Common Ground, and I will not ever get part of me back. I mourn, but I also feel eternally grateful to everyone I have met during this unbelievable journey & all of the life changing experiences I have had.

But fear not, my comrades. Though I have been temporarily knocked down (boy howdy), I am already dusting off my britches and looking ahead to the future. As many of you know- my plan was always to have a rural sibling to Common Ground (“Common Ground Farm” is what I call it in my head for now). It will take A LOT of hard work, determination, time and patience- but if I know myself (and I really am starting to, thank goodness) I know that I have it in me. I know that Common Ground Middleton has not been a failure, but a big beautiful stepping stone to what lies ahead. So please be patient alongside me everyone. And be prepared.

Yours sincerely,


5/27/20 UPDATE-

After speaking with my landlord of 2644 Branch St, despite everything- I am still on the hook to cover rent through the end of my lease in November (which could also then be renewed or option for land contract). “For Rent” signs will soon go up, and I know this is a long shot with the current state of things, but if anyone out there is interested in taking over where I left off and/or partnering as I have tons of expensive equipment and work I’ve put into the building – not to mention the groundwork for a wonderful business already in place – I would definitely be open to this as well!! Feel free to message me or email me at commongroundmiddleton@gmail.com with any leads! ❤️

The reality of the situation is that with the combined amount needed for rent which I owe in full, bloated utility bills (old building), repairs, daily operating expenses all compounded with my existing debt from just getting the place going – I would be restarting at a large deficit and still responsible for the last couple months of rent during which time I had zero income (which coming up with this in a restaurant business especially during a pandemic is quite unrealistic). My personal options are very slim at the moment, which has worn me to a nub over time. If Common Ground was to continue in it’s current state, or something similar – I feel there would have to be some sort of passing of the torch with someone starting basically where I left off. I have put in an exorbitant amount for repairs and replacing of equipment, but there is more to be done for which I do not have the resources but have come so far. I have laid all of the groundwork, have everything in place and would love to even be involved at some capacity, but my personal resources on this large undertaking are currently completely tapped. Someone taking over would have the benefit of all of the work and money I’ve already put in. But as any business minded person could likely recognize, business will likely be much slower until a vaccine comes out in which time hopefully things could go back to whatever normal will look like after all this.

I am afraid my only personal options at this point are to file for bankruptcy (which will mar mine and my husband’s credit for the next 7 years and truly effect any progress I could make with any future business ventures and getting any funding not to mention our personal lives) OR to find someone to take over where I have left off. Ooof, talk about a rock and a hard place! Through all of this, I am still grateful for mine and my children’s health, and I do not blame anyone – it is just the circumstances I find myself in. I will perservere, and we will figure something out.

Thank you for your support and understanding through this difficult time. It feels vulnerable indeed to put this all “out there”, but it is through community that we can often find comfort and healing and I have really been struggling with all of this alone at home by myself for the most part. So thank you for listening and for any support offered!



We are still closed for the time being, but we’ve had folks ask how they can still support Common Ground (thank you for asking!!!) You are welcome to purchase e-gift cards or donate to our GoFund me page. We hope everyone is holding up ok!

Gift Card link:


GoFundMe link:



Today’s specials are brought to you by my 4 and 7 year old! I don’t know about y’all, but I I feel this accurately portrays the current state of the world.

Reminder: we are not taking any orders until further notice, but are hoping to put up an online shop soon so stay tuned! Miss you all ❤️


Brunch curbside pick up or delivery today 9am-2pm! Call (608) 820-1010 or shoot us a message through facebook with your order & preferred time 🥞🥓 Happy Sunday everyone! ❤️


We are taking FISH FRY orders tonight for curbside pick up or delivery between 5-8pm! Call in (608) 820-1010 for delivery or pick up! Here is what we have available for fish fry tonight, including our regular lunch/dinner menu!

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We are still fine tuning our new delivery & pick up order system, & will have more details on that very soon – but in the meantime, you can order from us through EatStreet (their delivery starts @11am daily) or order pick up by calling in (608) 820-1010 beginning at 9am Today (Tues. March 17). We won’t be taking walk ins, but you are encouraged to call ahead or message on Facebook for pick up!! We will be maintaining strict hygiene during preparation & during the hand off process. We are committed to getting you your much needed caffeine & other goodies when you need it!

Our music & events calendar are cancelled/postponed for the time being.

Love to you all in this new & hopefully very temporary reality. We may be physically isolated, but we are all in this together ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️



As all of our routines are getting tossed mercilessly into the air, we have been over here brainstorming the best way we can still serve our community while maintaining a safe environment for our Common Ground family & the community as a whole. After much deliberation, and with restrictions already beginning to be put onto restaurants & bars, we have decided the best option for us is to close our dining room to the general public to maintain as sterile environment as possible so that we can offer our own delivery & pick up service in the coming week(s) as everyone finds themselves in this surreal springtime quarantine. This way we can be here if anyone needs their cafe drinks, breakfast, lunch or dinner delivered or picked up for you and your family! In order to prepare for this big change, we will be CLOSED on Monday March 16 & the plan is to be open for delivery & pick up orders beginning on Tuesday with our new (temporary) hours being 8am-7pm.

I choose to look at this whole situation as an opportunity to show how humanity can use their creativity & compassion to ban together (while maintaining “social distance” of course 😉) & it is now more than ever that I am grateful for the modern technology that can keep us linked together in spirit, if not in person. We will keep everyone posted on our plans & hope to open back up to the public as soon as it is safe enough to do so. Sadly, our regular music & community events calendar will be cancelled until further notice.

In the meantime, we’ve already seen many folks making use of our parking lot to go on Pheasant Branch Trail enjoying this lovely weather. Guests are welcome to do so, but please remember that we still have staff we need to support & building expenses, so call in/online pick up or delivery orders will be welcome to help keep us going until we can open our doors once again!

Stay tuned for more details on our new ordering process & feel free to share thoughts & ideas for any other ways we can be of service during this time!



Owner/Events Coordinator-

Common Ground Middleton


Check out the NEW CoEvolution Radio featuring streaming music from many of the bands who have graced our stage and a variety of shows aired live from Common Ground throughout the week! CoEvolution Radio is now the home of our weekly Saturday show – Durango’s Roadhouse!


For more events & happenings, make sure to check out our monthly newsletter HERE!!!



Thank you to everyone who voted for us for Best of Madison 2019 “Best New Restaurant” (bronze) and “Most Kid Friendly” (bronze)!!! We are very honored to be ranked amongst other Dane County businesses!

Common Ground has also been nominated for Best of Madison 2020 in 3 categories:

  • Best Coffee Shop
  • Best Music Venue
  • Most Kid Friendly

Stay tuned for results of the 2020 Best of Madison poll!

CHECK OUT OUR CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS! There is something for all ages and interests 🙂 Click the link below to check out our meetup events calendar:


And make sure to “LIKE” us on facebook to keep up to date with all the happenings at Common Ground!



Bluegrass & Old Time Music Jam every Monday 6:30-10pm in the main dining room – Come check out Madison’s Longest running Bluegrass Jam!!!


Bluesday – Live blues every Tuesday from 5:30-7:30pm in the main dining room


Gypsy Jazz Jam” or Django Jazz every Tuesday from 7:30-9:30pm in the main dining room. Guest musicians are welcome to join in the fun! (Note: this jam used to take place at Brochach on Monroe St.)


Open Mic! – Music, comedy, spoken word – Come on down to Common Ground for a friendly and fun Open Mic the 1st & 3rd Wednesdays each month from 7-9pm!

Madison Jazz Jam – Middleton Jazz Jam has joined forces with the Madison Jazz Jam to bring us a magnificent show every 2nd and 4th Wednesdays from 6-9pm! Each session features a professional house band followed by the opportunity for guests to sign up for a spot to play with the pros! More info on the OMJ Jazz Jam and Jazz workshops HERE 

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Thursday Line Dancing from 3:30-4:30pm (large room upstairs) Email Sue for more details on how to sign up! svrtrace60@gmail.com


Thursday night is Piano Night which features guest musicians each week playing on our upright piano on our main dining room stage from 6-8pm!


Friday Night Fish Fry every week from 5-9pm, featuring live music, beer battered cod, baked cod, perch and a weekly salmon special!  Our full menu is also available during this time as well as cafe and bar drinks.  Click HERE to check out our menus!

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Drama Kids Youth Acting Classes – Fridays 5:15-6:15pm (Elementary age) and 6:30-7:45pm (Middle School age). More details on how to sign up HERE!

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Durango’s Roadhouse Radio Show featuring live music, trivia & other shenanigans every Saturday night from 7-9pm and aired will now be aired live on CoEvolution Radio station HERE weekly. Click HERE for a list of our upcoming music guests! Dinner, cafe and bar items available for purchase during the show (we close at 10pm Saturdays)


Sunday Brunch featuring live music served every Sunday from 8am-2pm! Our full cafe, bar and bakery options are available during this time as well, and we are open until 4pm  (cafe and bar menu only from 2-4pm)

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Good Neighbor Yoga! Weekly Schedule: Sundays 9:30-10:45am (Vinyasa Yin) and Monday nights 7-8pm (Vinyasa Flow). Classes are $10/ drop in & pay upon arrival & they take place in the large room upstairs33086459_233809657200585_8060875808899596288_o

Madison West Writers Group – holds bi-weekly evening meetings at Common Ground. For details and specific dates, make sure to join the MWWG Meetup page HERE! Fun Fact!! Madison West Writers Group was founded by Common Ground owner Adrienne Hulburt-Stroud and it was her first foray into regular event hosting, which was a foretaste of the community event organizing monster to come!fullsizeoutput_328

*NEW* Drawing Time for Young People with Heather C. Williams. Saturdays 10am-12pm. Make sure to look out for her sign at a table in the main dining room and join her for great conversation and mental stimulation!


Open Art Studio – last Tuesday each month, 6:30-8:30pm (upstairs) – bring a craft or project you are working on, and create amongst friends, new and old!

New Orleans Jazz Brunch with the New Valley Jazz Band – last Sunday of the month 11am-2pm (brunch served 8am-2pm & we are open til 4pm)


MAUI Ukulele Sing-Along – first Saturday of each month 2-4pm in the main dining room. More on MAUI Madison HERE

Memory Cafe – a dementia/Alzheimers friendly morning with guided assistance and activities to spur memories – second Tuesday every month, 9:30-11:30am in the main dining room (free to attend!)

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Alzheimers Association Presents: Caregiver Support Group, Second Mondays monthly at 5:30pm (meets upstairs – free – drop in, brought to you by the Alzheimer’s Association) 

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Rooted Dad’s Group – 2nd Friday of the month: 6-8pm on the upper level of Common Ground. For more info on this group and more parent support groups and resources, check out MAPS Madison Area Parent Support HERE


We have oodles more events and happenings, so make sure to follow our facebook and check out our meetup calendar for more!



Meetup (events calendar):


Check out our monthly NEWSLETTER to read about upcoming events, music and other fun updates!!!

COMMON GROUND NOW HAS A BLOG!!  Check out the first article “The Birth of Common Ground” written by owner Adrienne Hulburt-Stroud HERE!


Common Ground is a small family owned and operated business that offers it’s space for community groups such as various scouting troops, art, writing and book clubs, support groups, family events, discussion groups, various non-profits, nature organizations, fundraisers, Alzheimers Association events, independent film showing, host to local politicians and public figures for speaking events and so much more! Click below if you’d like to contribute to help keep our community calendar full, contribute toward the wide array of musicians we feature (whom we pay for their time and talent) and our beautiful shared space running for all to enjoy!