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Rare Steakhouse founder opening new restaurant in Blue Marlin space

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Draper window

Draper Brothers Chophouse is set to open by early spring.

Jack Sosnowski, who founded and once owned Rare Steakhouse and the Ivory Room Piano Bar, is opening a restaurant on the Capitol Square in a historic building that was once home to the Blue Marlin restaurant.

Sosnowski said he expects to have Draper Brothers Chophouse open by early spring, after a complete renovation of the building at 101 N. Hamilton St.

He said the restaurant will seat about 100 people on two levels, where the previous restaurants operated on the ground level only.

The last two places in the space had short life spans: Boar & Barrel from 2018 to 2020 and Hamilton’s on the Square, 2015 to 2017.

Draper exterior

Draper Brothers Chophouse is going into the old Blue Marlin building at 101 N. Hamilton St.

Sosnowski, 41, said he’s doubling the size of what was there before.

“There’s definitely room for another high-end establishment Downtown, and I’m really excited that Downtown’s vibrant again and coming back,” he said.

The restaurant will be in the tradition of an Italian chophouse, with an upscale, supper club environment and a sleek bar. The menu will feature steak, roast prime rib, veal, fish, poultry and seafood.

Sosnowski owns the 16-year-old Madison-based Noble Chef Hospitality Group, which started Rare Steakhouse, the former Buck and Badger Northwoods Lodge, the former Freiburg Tap Haus and the Ivory Room Piano Bar.

The Draper Brothers building was designated as a landmark in 2002 by the Madison Landmarks Commission. A plaque says the building is significant as one of the few remaining buildings of native sandstone from Madison’s earliest era of commercial development.

Draper historical marker

The building housed a butcher shop the Draper family operated on Capitol Square for 74 years, beginning in 1887.

It says that the building’s asymmetrical footprint allowed for a prominent entrance directly on the corner and facing the Capitol building, adding that the large arched openings for the entrance and display windows impart a dramatic scale to an otherwise small building.

Sosnowski said the building housed a butcher shop the Draper family operated on Capitol Square for 74 years, beginning in 1887.

The restaurant will be open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sosnowski said he closed Buck and Badger Northwoods Lodge last May by not renewing its lease. In 2018, he got out of the three Rare Steakhouse restaurants he used to run: the original one on the Square, which opened in 2014; Milwaukee, which opened in 2016; and Washington, D.C., which opened in 2017.

Freiburg Gastropub ran from 2015 to 2018, first on Monroe Street, then at the top of State Street. Sosnowski no longer owns the Ivory Room, either.

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