Thursday, 26 November 2020

Despite worry among neighbors that Brocach on Monroe Street is closed for good — and not just during the ongoing construction on Monroe Street — the current plan is still to reopen, says co-owner Melanie Gautreau. “We’re waiting on construction updates,” says Gautreau. Originally she had hoped to relaunch in time for the first Badgers football game, but “they only just tore up our sidewalk last week.” And the historic rains of August 20 flooded the building’s basement, where part of the kitchen is located. “It’s been a bit of a nightmare,” says Gautreau. “It’s never flooded before, but we were over there this morning with a Shop-Vac.” They are fighting hard to reopen as soon as practical, Gautreau says. “We love the space, we love the neighborhood.”

There has been similar concern about the reopening of Jac’s Dining and Tap House at 2611 Monroe, but posts from worried patrons on the restaurant’s Facebook page have been met with reassurance from the owners: “Hang in there everyone, we are coming back!!!”

The Monroe Street Farmers’ Market is asking folks to remember they are still around despite the ongoing construction on Monroe, too. The market, held 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays, is held at Edgewood High School, so there is plenty of parking — if customers can figure out how to get there on the one, eastbound lane of Monroe that’s open. In addition to vendors selling produce, meat, eggs and cheese, there are food carts and some prepared foods available.

Two highly anticipated restaurant openings are being put off due to construction delays. The Heights Kitchen, headed for 11 N. Allen St., should open sometime in September, but manager Evan Gruzis doesn’t want to bank on naming a specific date. “It’s going good, but I didn’t want to push it,” says Gruzis of The Heights’ remodel. In August, The Heights requested that the city extend the 90-day deadline the restaurant is under for implementing its liquor license. “Because of the complexity of our construction project and the varying lead times of our subcontractors during high season, we are afraid that we may not have our inspections completed by the Sept. 5 deadline.” Gruzis, who is doing a lot of the work on the remodel of the space himself, says, “It’s my first restaurant build, so I’m learning a lot of new things.”

Nook, the tasting menu restaurant at 2138 Atwood Ave., is also taking longer than expected. The space has never before been a restaurant and it’s been a challenge to re-make it, despite variances that allow Nook to skirt ADA compliance. The estimated opening date is now late September to mid-October.

The July gas explosion in Sun Prairie destroyed much of the heart of its downtown. The damaged Salvatore’s Tomato Pies at 121 E. Main St. has been repaired and recently reopened. The Glass Nickel, leveled in the explosion, has signed a lease on a new space at 815 W. Main St., says owner Adam Bougie. “They’re doing the buildout now. We hope to get up and running quick, by early October.” That building was formerly a Papa John’s and a Little Caesars, so not too much had to be done. Still, Bougie wants to rebuild at the original 101 W. Main Street location. “I estimate one to two years, who knows?” says Bougie. “I’ve never done this before — I’ve remodeled restaurants, but never rebuilt from ground zero.”

To aid in Sun Prairie relief efforts, Potosi Brewery is releasing a special pilsner style beer called #Sun Prairie Strong to honor Cory Barr, the firefighter and tavern owner who died in the explosion. The idea for a special beer to aid in recovery efforts came from Patrick DePula of Salvatore’s Tomato Pies. “John Campbell of Wisconsin Distributors reached out shortly after the explosion to ask what they could do,” says DePula. Campbell pulled in Potosi to do the brewing; Art and Sons created the label.

Dave Schroud, also of Wisconsin Distributors and a resident of Sun Prairie for 53 years was also part of the project. As a second-generation Sun Prairie volunteer fireman, Schroud wanted “to honor my good friend and fellow firefighter for his ultimate sacrifice.”

All profits from #Sun Prairie Strong Prairie Pilsner (from both the brewer and Wisconsin Distributors) will go to the Sun Prairie Disaster Relief Fund. The beer can be found on tap at local bars including Buck & Honey’s, Daly’s Bar and Grille, McGovern’s, The Nitty Gritty-Sun Prairie and Varsity Bar and Grill. Additionally, the beer on tap along with a commemorative glass mug ($10/pour) is available at Eddie’s Alehouse, Market Street Diner, Monk’s-Sun Prairie, Prairie Lanes, Salvatore’s Tomato Pies, Sun Prairie Athletic Club, VFW #9362, Wagner’s Tavern and Winestyles Tasting Station. It’s also sold in six-pack cans.

Above all, Schroud hopes that the money raised “will help individual businesses rebuild and prosper again downtown.” With every sale of #Sun Prairie Strong, citizens like Shroud will be moving their community one glass, can, or mug closer to recovery.

Additional reporting by Ella Ceelen.


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