When Monroe Street’s Freiburg Gastropub came on the market, the Neal family jumped at the opportunity to open a bar and restaurant called the Tin Fox.
Marissa Neal, of Beloit, said she and her husband Greg had been looking to open a restaurant with their son, Justice, who currently works for the University Club in Milwaukee.
“For the last four years, my husband and I have been looking for our spot to showcase his talent,” Marissa said. “It’s kind of a formidable task to find the right location.”
Jack and Julie Sosnowski, of Noble Chef Hospitality Group, opened Freiburg Gastropub in 2015 at 2616 Monroe St. The group also operates the Ivory Room Piano Bar, Wisconsin Brewing Tap Haus, Buck and Badger Northwoods Lodge and Rare Steakhouse.
Operating multiple restaurants and raising three children under the age of four were factors in the Sosnowski's decision to sell the restaurant.
"I've got my hands full," Jack said.
Marissa described the Tin Fox as upscale casual dining featuring eclectic, American comfort food with house craft cocktails. They hope to open toward the end of April and eventually offer brunch, lunch and dinner.
The family plans to renovate the restaurant to reflect a more contemporary decor and be more colorful than the current German beer hall theme.
Justice, who has experience working in restaurants in Chicago and Milwaukee, said he wants the Tin Fox to be a true “farm to table” restaurant and is working on connecting with local vendors.
“My goal is to do everything from scratch as much as we can,” he said.
The menu will offer a range of snacks, shareable items and main entrees. Some highlights include chicken skin chips ($4), pork belly and mussels ($16) and a spiced duck entree ($28).
To combat the major Monroe Street reconstruction project, Marissa said they are brainstorming events such as open mic and food pairing nights to draw customers into the restaurant.
“We’re up against a challenge with the road construction,” Marissa said. “We want to have a positive attitude.”
The Tin Fox plans to be a full family affair. In addition to Marissa and Greg running the front of the house and Justice in the kitchen, a daughter and niece will be bartending and a second daughter will run the restaurant’s social media account. Marisssa’s grandson also came up with the restaurant’s name.
“That’s the benefit to having a large family,” Justice, who has five siblings, said.
“That’s what's so exciting for us is to pull this together. That’s the roots we have,” Marissa added. “We’d like to extend that into the community. We’d like the community to become our family.”