A new development that includes a Southern restaurant, a wine and tapas bar and a diner-style coffee shop will involve booze in every aspect.
That is, pending approval from the Alcohol License Review Committee Wednesday. The entire building at 829 E. Washington Ave. (the former Lussier Teen Center), owned by the umbrella company Robinia LLC, hopes to be open for business by mid-November.
"We're excited and a little bit nervous," said Brian Haltinner, one of six co-owners who is acting as a liaison between the LLC and Jon Reske, who put the project together.
"There's so much hype" about Southern food, Haltinner said, but nothing similar to this concept yet in Madison. "We've maybe got the timing right."
Julep will be a new Southern spot run by Sarah Kinser (The Weary Traveler, Restaurant Magnus) and Laura Jones (Tempest Oyster Bar). Kinser hails from Kentucky, and Haltinner said the bar has already ordered its signature metal cups.
Mariah Mendez of Maduro will run the bar program. Chef Joe Sanborn currently cooks at Epic Systems, but has credits at Magnus, The Weary Traveler, Natt Spil, Sardine and Cafe Montmartre.
"I hope to do Southern inspired cuisine within a Midwest frame," Sanborn said.
"I'd like to present some well known standards of Southern cooking such as barbecue ribs, smoked brisket and fried chicken, as well as some fun interpretations on the cuisine like pimento cheese curds and pecan crusted trout (based on trout almondine).
"We also would like to feature the lighter, healthier side of southern cooking with quality produce presented thoughtfully."
Haltinner, owner of Maduro and former co-owner of Osteria Papavero and Cocoliquot, heads up the wine bar, Barolo, with his nephew Lucas Balamuth (Sushi Muramoto, Natt Spil).
That bar will serve more of a light tapas menu and likely have some music, including jazz, folk and "chill DJs," according to the city application.
The coffeehouse, A-OK, will be run by the Johnson Public House team, Kyle and Gwen Johnson. They'll serve their own specialty roasted coffees from Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama, as well as milkshakes, beer, kegged cocktails and homemade sodas.
The coffeehouse will serve breakfast, sandwiches and dinner, like a '50s diner. It will also make use of the old Savidusky's Furquarters vault, where decades ago people stored their fine fur coats.
The floor, according to Kyle Johnson, will be painted "electric blue and yellow."
"The feeling we were going for (is) very bright and colorful, sunshine and spirits," Johnson said. "It will complement what Brian’s doing in the wine bar and what Sarah’s doing in Julep."
All three entities will share a kitchen and a 3,500 square foot courtyard. Total indoor capacity is 370.
"The coffeehouse is going to obviously open early, something like 6 a.m.," Haltinner said. "By the time Barolo closes everything down at bar time, we're talking about the place only being dark for four hours or so.
"It's a challenge for the chef and kitchen team," he said.
The Marquette Neighborhood Association voted in support of the company's ALRC requests. Haltinner and Johnson are both encouraged by growth in the area they're moving into.
"With Sujeo," Tory Miller's new pan-Asian noodle bar in the Constellation building at East Washington and Livingston, "there's a lot more interest around this area," Haltinner said.
"I’m just excited for this whole East Wash corridor with all this quality stuff going in," Johnson said. "You have the Brink and High Noon Saloon, Cargo and Star Bar and Sujeo.
"What we all want is for people to hang out on that street."
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Jon Reske's first name.