Mariner’s Memories

Mariners Inn > Mariner’s Memories


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I started as a “salad girl” working for Betty & Bill back in the early 70’s and worked my way up to “hostess”, which was quite an honor.  I remember little Bill, Jack & Bobbie harassing the workers at the restaurant.  The entire crew at that time was a wonderful, close group to work with.  I did a lot of growing up there and to this day consider it the BEST job EVER!!  I haven’t been there in over 30 yrs, since I left WI to live in Alaska.  I will make it a point to return to Mariner’s Inn when I come back to visit!



We have been celebrating sooo many events at the Mariners Inn dating back to when our friends Jim and Carol Ruhly introduced us to this special place in 1972. We have celebrated birthdays, graduations both high school,college and our daughters white coat ceremony the night of her induction into UW medical school and many anniversaries, BUT the best time we had was celebrating our 25th anniversary in 1995 Dec. 26th in the room that used to be above the bar. The Christmas decorations, food, room and our good friends being with us made for a very special night. We loved seeing Bill at the bar and Betty as hostess and now seeing their children there is great! Thanks for the many memories Ed and Mary Saur
—Mary Saur from Windsor, Wi

I grew up with Bill being the owner of the Nibble Nook uptown. It was our local hangout. We always enjoyed him. A lot of us are still great friends and would like to get in touch with Bill when he comes to Madison. We have breakfast once a month and call it the Nibble Nook Breakfast. We also have dinners at Mariners and Nautigal.
—Sheilagh from Madison

My husband proposed to me on May 16, 1985, in the bar, next to the deep sea diver, and I think I said yes to him too! 😉 Unfortunately, I was too excited to eat so, in retrospect, I wished he’d waited until after our delicious meal! Every meal has been wonderful and we’re looking at our 23rd anniversary this June and of course, as always, will be there! Ellen from Mauston
—Ellen from Mauston, WI

I think the year was 1983 – my boyfriend and I were celebrating our 6th month anniversary at the Mariner’s Inn. We were just 20 years old! I remember I was very nervous and excited about being at such a fancy place where they actually recite the menu!
—Scott and Marti from Sun Prairie from WI

We moved from California to Wisconsin in 1968 and were quickly introduced to The Mariner’s Inn. Bill and Betty made us feel at home and it became our regular Friday night eating place.
—Ann and Bob Erickson from Waunakee, WI

My husband and I have gone to Mariners now for over 30 years to celebrate everything we can think of! My favorite time was when the tornado warning horns were sounding and all of us, patrons and staff ended up in the cooler where it was safe!
—Lori from Middleton from Middleton, WI

Twenty years ago my husband and I went to Mariner’s for the first time. It was such a great experience. Betty came to the table to greet us and recite the menu. We hadn’t quite seen anything like that. The setting was so warm and cozy.
—Ann from Waunakee

My fondest memory is when we had only been dating a couple months. The atmosphere was beautiful and the staff was great. That was the first night I said those three short words to the woman who is now my wife. We will both remember that night forever.
—Phil from Madison

It was sometime in the mid-1980s that I had some friends in town and I wanted them to experience Mariner’s. We were all pleasantly surprised when Betty recited the menu to us. It was very poetic and a wonderful experience!
—Ann from Cottage Grove

In 1978, my husband of 29 years was courting me. We spent our first Valentine’s Day at the Mariner’s Inn in 1978. We had a romantic dinner looking out on the wintry scene outside. He proposed to me exactly one year later. Thanks for the memories!
—Myrna from Madison

After Wisconsin Football games we’d go and Betty would come to the table and warmly greet us and tell us she was the menu–what charming comments that would initiate. The Mariner’s continues to be my favorite restaurant in the Madison area!!!
—Kathleen from Fitchburg, WI

Dinner at the Mariner’s to celebrate my 21st birthday was my first date with a new boyfriend, now my husband of 36 yrs! He had just accepted his first job offer in Milwaukee and came to Madison in a borrowed car. I was very impressed and still am!
—Heather from Waunakee, WI.

My husband and I have been going to Mariner’s for our wedding anniversary every year for 27 years, and the service and food have always surpassed expectations. Their staff is excellent as well. It has a relaxed atmosphere and is my favorite place!
—Kelly from Madison, WI

I found the Mariner’s searching the Internet. When we had dinner there, it was exactly what I pictured it to be! It even surpassed our expectations.
—Doug and Wendy from Bettendorf, Iowa

I’ve paid more elsewhere but had none better than at The Mariner’s!
—Joe from Madison

We’ve been coming to The Mariner’s Inn for years. We just love what your family has done to carry on the tradition your parents started and to grow it into what it is today.
—Peter and Martha from Madison

The Mariner’s has such special memories for me. When I was 9 years old my parents took me to The Mariner’s for my first grown-up dinner in a restaurant. Years later my husband proposed to me at The Mariner’s. We go there every chance we get!
—Sarah from Madison