Food Fight's newest restaurant venture is opening near the UW-Madison campus before its other new dining establishment opens in a development on the 100 block of State Street.
Bassett Street Brunch Club will open on the first floor of the new $25 million Hampton Inn & Suites hotel that is nearing completion on the corner of Bassett and Johnson streets. The site was formerly home to the Italian restaurant Casa Bianca, and before that, Edwardo's, which served Chicago-style stuffed pizza.
Four residential buildings and one commercial building were razed for the project, which has been under construction for the better part of a year.
Brunch Club will be a glammed-up Downtown version of Monty's Blue Plate Diner, where you can also get breakfast all day, said Caitlin Suemnicht, a managing partner in Food Fight.
"When we were looking at the location, I tried to think, 'What needs to be on campus that isn't on campus?' And I thought that breakfast all day was really missing," Suemnicht said.
"I mean, who doesn't like breakfast?" she asked. "I do, and I like it at all times of the day, so we started to expand on that."
Brunch Club is intended to be an upscale, city diner that also offers sandwiches and more dinner-style entrees after 11 a.m., Suemnicht said.
Suemnicht also compares Brunch Club to her other recent creation, DLUX, on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard off the Capitol Square.
"For me, it was just a matter of what's missing," she said. "Where would I like to go as a consumer and what do I think is fun and kind of brings new life to that area."
Bassett Street Brunch Club is the closest the restaurant group, with its 17 or so restaurants, has gotten to campus. Fresco, above the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, would be the nearest now.
The restaurant should open in late October or early November, barring any construction delays, Suemnicht said.
"It's really great visibility for us. We're right on the corner and it's floor-to-ceiling glass," she said.
"I love it because it's an opportunity to have students, Kohl Center visitors, hotel visitors. I think it will be a really broad demographic for the restaurant, which is always exciting."
Brunch Club's executive chef will be Matt Pace, who has been the chef and general manager at Monty’s for the past four years. Pace has also worked at L’Etoile, Café Soleil, Muramoto and Harvest, Suemnicht said.
Menu items with a brunch-theme could include oatmeal creme brulee, housemade granola, chilaquiles, lemon-ricotta pancakes, breakfast sliders and homemade donuts.
Brunch Club will seat about 100, with a bar located toward the front of the restaurant, and a “kitchen counter” overlooking the kitchen. It will open at 7 a.m. on weekdays, and at 8 a.m. on weekends, and will serve until midnight Thursday through Saturday; 10 p.m. other nights.