Grampa's Gun Shop to be pizza place

Larry Gleasman closed Grampa's Gun Shop in March. It will re-open as a pizza place this summer, with new owner Gilbert Altschul.

Starting this summer, Grampa’s Gun Shop on Willy Street will serve up sausage pies instead of shotguns.

Neighborhood native son Gilbert Altschul, the 30-year-old former stepson of Lazy Jane’s owner Jane Capito and head of the kitchen at Mickey’s Tavern, plans to open Grampa’s Pizzeria around the fourth of July. It will be located about halfway between two popular east side pizza joints: Glass Nickel and Roman Candle. 

“We’re taking a gun shop in a house and turning it into a 45-seat restaurant,” Alschul said. “We’re taking it down to the studs.”

Alschul’s transformation of the space at 1374 Williamson St. has already generated some light mockery by Alan Talaga and Jon Lyons in an Isthmus cartoon.

And on Wednesday, April 10, the Willy Street Blog dedicated more than 1,500 words to the project, which is set to feature four specialty pizzas, appetizers, salads and a changing list of microbrews.

Altschul trained as a chef near Phoenix and has “bounced around a lot” since, from Chicago to California and back to Madison.

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When he was ready to open his own place, the “Grampa’s” name seemed like an obvious fit — both a dedication to his own grandfather, whose hand-rolled pizza recipe Altschul will use, and a nod to Larry Gleasman’s venerable shop. 

Gleasman, 73, has been a gunsmith since the mid-1970s and, according to Cap Times archives, opened his shop in the mid-1980s. A conservative estimate puts him on Willy Street for 29 years. The shop closed at the end of March. 

Lindsay Christians covers Madison life for The Capital Times.

Food editor and arts writer Lindsay Christians has been writing for the Cap Times since 2008. She hosts the food podcast The Corner Table and runs a program for student theater critics. Member @AFJEats and @ATCA. She/ her/ hers.