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Point Burger Bar

Point Burger Bar is expanding into Middleton. It will be its first outside of the Milwaukee area.

Brian Ward expected to open Point Burger Bar in early September, but got delayed by flooding that he said caused $800,000 in damages.

He now plans to open Wednesday in what used to be Quaker Steak & Lube, 2259 Deming Way in Middleton. The flooding in August affected sections of Middleton and parts of Madison's West Side. 

Ward lost 37 70-inch TVs worth about $1,000 each, and had major damage to video games, equipment and walls. The flooding happened two weeks before the restaurant was set to open. Neither Ward nor his landlord had flood insurance.

His only option was to rebuild, he said, since he put $1.6 million into the build-out. "If we didn't rebuild, we'd lose $1.6 million dollars," he said. 

All of his video games -- 19 -- needed to be rebuilt. One, worth $45,000, was a total loss, Ward said. All the booths in the restaurant suffered water damage.

"Every single booth that we have in here that was brand new had to be redone because it was destroyed," Ward said.

Just the cleanup without rebuilding was $120,000 to $140,000, he said. He also had to pay his managers for two months during the rebuilding. The parking lot was destroyed and had to be rebuilt. He also had to throw out all his food.

"You either rebuild or you lose everything," Ward said. "And I mean that was a question we had. Do we pull the plug and lose everything or do we rebuild?"

He said others in the area had it a lot worse than he did.

At nearby Costco, dozens of employees and customers had to spend a night stranded in the warehouse as about a foot of water covered the floors. The store was closed for eight days and had an initial estimated $1 million in property damage, according to the city.

Costco's losses were much, much worse, Ward said, but a manager at Costco wouldn't put a figure on it, because the company is still finding damage, she said.

Ward owns three other Point Burger Bars, serving Point beer, in and near Milwaukee. 

He did a complete remodel on the Middleton location, so it looks like the other restaurants, Ward said.

Along with build-your-own and specialty burgers, the restaurant will serve custard shakes, malts, boozy custard shakes, appetizers, soups, salads, entrées, sandwiches and wraps.

Burgers can be made with Angus beef, duck, turkey, lamb, portobello mushroom, bison, salmon and chicken. There will also be two vegan options, a soy-based veggie burger and the Impossible burger, a plant-based patty that mimics beef using an ingredient called heme. The compound contains iron and is found in animal muscle.

Burgers will start at $8.95 and go up to $17.95 for a 1-pound Angus burger.

The Middleton Point Burger Bar is about 14,000 square feet, second only in size to Ward's Pewaukee location, which is 15,000 square feet. The capacity at Middleton is about 400, Ward said.

The Middleton location will have a drive-thru, a patio, and a game room. The space is divided into sections and is big enough where different kinds of groups can interact in different areas, Ward said.

Ward has an agreement with Stevens Point Brewery to use the Point Beer name and offer its beer. Point Burger Bar in Middleton will have 28 taps with 24 of those from Stevens Point Brewery, Ward said.

Stevens Point Brewery, founded in 1857, has a number of brands, including Point Beer, a line of cider called Ciderboys, two lines of craft beer, and soda.

Ward, who owns the Downtown Milwaukee steakhouse Ward's House of Prime, opened his first Point Burger Bar in late 2015. He was inspired after a trip to Las Vegas, where he visited Gordon Ramsay's Burger at Planet Hollywood and Hubert Keller's Burger Bar at Mandalay Place.

It was eye-opening for Ward to see what the big-name chefs were doing with burgers, he said. "Vegas kind of leads the way for all of the dining industry and the trends and what's happening."

If all goes well with the Middleton restaurant, Ward imagines another in the Madison area. He'd eventually like 20 to 30 Point Burger Bars, and plans to expand outside of Wisconsin.

Read more restaurant news at go.madison.com/restaurantnews.

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Wisconsin State Journal food writer Samara Kalk Derby brings you the latest news on the Madison area's eclectic restaurant scene.