Monroe Street will get its German-style gastropub. Last week the city's Alcohol License Review Committee approved the proposal for the Freiburg Gastropub, 2612 Monroe St., after it had turned it down at its March meeting after hearing several objections from neighbors.
The committee asked the owners to address the neighborhood concerns and come back to the council with a revised proposal.
Co-owner Jack Sosnowski of Noble Chef Hospitality Group also operates Rare Steakhouse, the Ivory Room, Capital Tap Haus and Buck and Badger, all downtown. Sosnowski scheduled an open house at the proposed site before the second ALRC meeting so the neighbors could "see what we are doing with the space" and that it's "not a huge bar." For his part, Sosnowski says that he wants Freiburg Gastropub to be "a great restaurant," and that the operation will be "food-driven."
The chef, Travis Vaughn, comes to Freiburg Gastropub from Frasca in Boulder, Colo.
The gastropub will take over the space of what used to be three smaller businesses, including Monroe Street Shoe Repair and the Knitting Tree, which moved into new quarters down the street.
The space is being gutted and opened up, with an open-concept kitchen, says Sosnowski. He wants it to be "a neighborhood place."
Neighbors, some of whose backyards would have come right up to an originally proposed patio area, objected to the potential noise problem. Outdoor seating, wrote one neighbor to the ALRC, would put "diners right in the middle of a collection of residential backyards. There is no separation at all between the proposed outdoor eating space and neighbors' houses."
The ALRC granted the license with several conditions: no outdoor seating; capacity limited to 60; closing hours no later than 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 9 p.m. on Sunday. The gastropub must also qualify as a restaurant under Madison General Ordinances 38.02, which means 50% or less of its sales will come from alcohol. (The original application for the establishment projected 70% income from food, 30% from alcohol.)
The proposed menu includes appetizers of sunchoke frites, chicken liver pate and potato pancakes; other smaller meals such as house bratwurst, pierogi and smoked trout salad; and larger meals such as grilled quail, veal cutlet, seared scallops with potato dumplings, and a black angus burger.
Despite the Madison area's strong German heritage, German cuisine in town has been scarce. German-style food has essentially been the purview of the Essen Haus and Come Back In, up until now, or has meant making a trip to the Dorf Haus in Roxbury or to New Glarus for Swiss cuisine.