The Doolittles Woodfire Grill scheduled to open Tuesday at East Towne Mall will be the fifth for two Minnesota partners and the first in Wisconsin.
The free-standing restaurant featuring wood-fired rotisserie cooking has an outdoor fire pit, an outdoor bar, and extensive landscaping.
"Winters are too long and summers are too short, and we really like to enjoy dining outside and enjoying what beautiful summers we have," said John Sheehan, who owns the business with Lynn Reimer.
The restaurant has an outdoor rain garden that is off the parking lot, and is surrounded by boulders, Sheehan said. Local, native plants have been brought in, as well as trees, bushes and perennials.
The outdoor space will feature flowers as well, he said, describing the area as "very warm and welcoming, but a little bit protected from the streets around it."
Doolittles, 4323 East Towne Blvd., sits just off the ring road that goes around the mall, and is near the food court entrance. Construction started last October.
Sheehan said he'd been scouting for a Madison location for seven years. "We've really liked the market for a long time. This site in particular... We were finally able to come to terms with the mall owner, who's been a great partner as well."
Doolittles is driven by quality, Sheehan said. "It is really about bringing in high quality food, beverage and service to everyday people."
He said often the best quality food is located in a Downtown area, because that's where chefs are drawn. The idea with his restaurants is to bring high-quality food to the suburbs or outskirts.
"We believe it should be available for everybody," Sheehan said. "And Madison, particularly East Towne Mall, is a great location for us. We think the people, the community and the market are perfect for us, and there's nothing else like us out here."
The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner, everything from salads, flatbreads and burgers, to steak, fish and seafood. It will offer about 65 wines by the bottle, and as many as 45 by the glass.
Doolittles started in Eagan, Minn., in 1989. There are now two others in Minnesota and a fourth in neighboring Fargo, North Dakota.
The partners also have a second concept, Porter Creek Hardwood Grill, which they opened in Burnsville, Minnesota. And a second one will open soon in Fargo.
In terms of doing a Porter Creek here, they are going to wait and see how Doolittles does first. "It's a glimmer in our eye at least," Sheehan said.