The Madison restaurant group Food Fight has chosen Steenbock’s on Orchard chef and general manager Michael Pruett to lead its new restaurant in the prominent redevelopment of the 100 block of State Street.
Pruett will fill the same role at the new restaurant and also will be a member of the ownership group, said managing partner Greg Frank.
Caitlin Suemnicht, another Food Fight managing partner, will lead the development of the new restaurant, slated to open next spring in the historic Stark and Schubert buildings on the corner of Fairchild and Mifflin streets.
Suemnicht, who developed the concepts for Fresco at the top of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and the more casual DLUX on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, will be responsible for the look of the new place.
They are going for “slick and sexy, but comfortable and inviting,” she said, noting the restaurant will have some great views of the Overture Center.
Suemnicht, Frank and Food Fight’s Monty Schiro say it’s too early to reveal the name or too many other details. Schiro did say that a wood-burning oven will be central to what they do, and the restaurant will hold “a couple other surprises.”
The initially controversial $11.6 million Block 100 project is being financed by Overture Center philanthropists Jerome Frautschi and Pleasant Rowland. The triangular site includes the historic 100 block of State Street.
Schiro said he is moving Pruett over “because I think he is that good. I think that where he is, he is doing amazing food and nobody seems to find him there.”
Food Fight is working on who will replace Pruett at Steenbock’s, Schiro said. “We may just bring someone from one of the other places, or we might look outside. We haven’t really figured that out yet because we’ve got time.”
Suemnicht said the menu and price points at the new place will be varied so customers have the flexibility to order as few or as many courses as they’d like.
“I like a restaurant where you can easily stop in for just drinks, some light food, or go on a different occasion for a multi-course dinner,” she said. “I think that’s especially important since we’ll be right next to Overture Center.”
In February, Suemnicht, Schiro, Frank and Pruett spent five days in San Francisco eating and getting inspiration.
Beyond food and drink, they looked at design, layout and service style, Suemnicht said.
“It’s important to get the main decision makers around a dinner table to get the creative juices flowing and to eat, drink and talk about what we all liked and didn’t like and why,” Suemnicht said.
The restaurant will be Food Fight’s 17th in the Madison area.