East Side History Madison’s Blog

By and for the East Side History Club, a project of the Goodman Community Center

The Trophy Tavern: “Madison’s Nicest, Neatest Bar” In Its Day

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on April 17, 2011

At the East Side History Club’s March 2011 meeting a number of guests talked about their connections with our local breweries and taverns. Among the guests were three daughters of Joe and Edna Matush, operators of the Trophy Tavern (1948 Atwood Avenue) from 1931 until 1967 Judy Riddle spoke for the sisters. “We all started working there when we were in high school. We had to sort the beer bottles for return.” Judy described how they got to play shuffleboard and enjoy soda and chips when chores were done.

On Sundays after Mass, the sisters would have breakfast, then go to the tavern to clean, where ice cream and Borden’s milk were stored in the fridge. “It was our responsibility to bring home the milk. I’d put it in a paper bag but since it was moist, the bottom would often fall out. Dad always knew when we broke one–we tried to hide it in the bushes, but Dad always knew,” Judy recalled.

Edna Matush would tend bar in the afternoons, and the sisters would wake up their dad when they got home from school–it was time for him to relieve their mother at the tavern, while one of the sisters started dinner preparations.

Edna and Joe Matush in front of the Trophy Tavern, 1948 Atwood Avenue, June 28, 1958.

“We were great supporters of Schenk’s Corners,” Judy said. “After Friday night shopping the big treat was to have an ice cream cone. We’d roller-skate in front of the bank.”  (Judy was referring to Security State Bank, now Chase.)

Joe Matush was a member in the East Side Business Men’s Association, and a big supporter of the Fall Festival and sports teams. The tavern would host an annual picnic at Muir Park in Poynette. “We all loved it, especially the grilled pork chops,” Judy said.

The Matush family’s Trophy Tavern was known as the nicest, neatest, bar in town, and Fauerbach Beer was the most popular brew on tap.

Nancy Ryan, Sue Olson, and Judy Riddle--the Matush sisters--featured guests at the East Side History Clubs March meeting at the Malt House.

Joe Matush on the sidewalk in front of the Trophy Tavern. Photo taken looking west and south across Schenks Corners; the Schenk Building appears in the background. (Circa 1940s?)

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