A new restaurant, bar and market called Field Table is taking shape on the Capitol Square and will concentrate on both preparing food with fresh produce and selling fresh vegetables directly to consumers.
"The focus is on really great sourcing whenever possible and an evolving menu that's engaging enough to allow our guests to join us more frequently," said Trish Davis, who is opening the business at 10 W. Mifflin St., where Sunprint Cafe was for a short time after moving from its more prominent home in the glass bank or U.S. Bank Plaza on the Square. She is looking toward an April opening.
"I've always loved markets and entertaining and exploring food in general," Davis said, adding that she wants her customers to have access to the best, freshest ingredients, whether they are dining in, grabbing to-go items, or picking up staple ingredients for their home pantries.
The restaurant and market will enjoy a "deep connection" to the Dane County Farmers' Market, which will be right outside its front door, she said. "And obviously with a name like Field Table, our commitment to using the freshest possible ingredients is extremely high."
One of the most sustainable things people can do is shop close to home more often, Davis said, and having access to the freshest produce on Saturday mornings from the farmers' market is fantastic. "But a lot of us, if we've missed the market, than we've missed that opportunity."
To remedy that situation, Field Table is going to have a big produce cooler near its front door, which, Davis said, will hold as much as possible for those who choose to cook at home.
Similarly, lunch and dinner menus will be locally inspired, but Davis was not able to name her chef because the chef's current employer is not yet aware of her new position, Davis said.
Grab-and-go breakfast sandwiches and bakery will be available in the morning, but there will be no formal breakfast service. Field Table will offer brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
André Darlington, a former restaurant and cocktail writer for Isthmus, is serving as a consultant for Field Table.
"There's a certain practicality to this whole place in the sense that you have the ability to have some fun picking up your lunch when you grab your morning coffee," Davis said.
Field Table plans to serve coffee from Ruby Coffee Roasters out of the rural Central Wisconsin town of Nelsonville. Ruby was chosen after Davis and her team seriously considered Intelligentsia Coffee out of Chicago and Counter Culture Coffee of Durham, North Carolina.
"We wanted something that felt right for us," Davis said. "And the owner of Ruby is classically trained because he worked for Intelligentsia for a number of years."
The Field Table team is taking a field trip to Nelsonville before the restaurant opens, Davis said, to make sure her staff understands the roastery's approach to "Third Wave" coffee, or the direct sourcing of the beans, and "roasting them in a way that honors the farms that they came from."
Davis, who comes from the business world, and has done consumer product marketing and branding for a number of prominent local companies, hired Seattle's Heliotrope Architects to design the restaurant. The firm, she said, has done amazing projects near Pike Place Market in that city.
"They're very good at revitalizing storefronts," Davis said, noting that they are in the process of reconstructing the facade of the Field Table building. She described the market as being "light, and white and bright," with the restaurant done in much darker, cool and calming colors with lots of gray.
"There's a fair amount of contrast between the two spaces even though it's all in one big room, so to speak," she said.