Heads/Up(date): Sprecher Restaurant and New Westside Brewpub

18 Sep

A few new details regarding the new Sprecher-licensed restaurant and pub coming to the old Houlihan’s space on the Far West side from last night’s Alcohol License Review Committee meeting via Dane101‘s Michael Donnelly

Sprecher’s, 1262 John W Hammons Dr: The bar at this location after Houlihan’s closed in 2008 was only open for seven weeks before being evicted because they couldn’t pay their rent. Building owner Kevin Lederer decided he’d take matters into his own hands and open a restaurant and bar there.

Lederer contacted Wisconsin brewer Sprecher for permission to use their name and products at the new restaurant. The place will have a casual menu of American food and a family friendly atmosphere — the latter supported by the fact that Sprecher’s flagship product is a root beer. Lever has plans to return to the council in the spring to apply to expand to a sports patio, but he isn’t currently asking for a capacity increase.

Schumacher asked how much experience they had. Lederer responded that Sue Gergem, the agent on the license, operated Houlihan’s. He then asked why they had to sell American food when with the Sprecher name German food would make much more sense. The committee laughed and approved the license.

Doesn’t sound particularly exciting at this point, but given its location, the audience and vibe they’re going for is not surprising.  I’m with Schumacher in wishing they would go for a more authentic German feel with the menu.  Are there not enough places to get a burger or chicken strips on the West Side?  Please send all hate mail calling me an elitist hippie snob liberal commie for being snarky about West Side chain restaurants to: Complaints Dept c/o TGI McChangs & Lube, 666 Unnecessarily Windy Rd.

In other area beer news, it looks like the rumored brewpub slated to replace the defunct J.T. Whitney’s is shaping up.  Again, via Michael Donnelly:

Vintage Brewing Company, 674 S Whitney Way: Members of the Kraemer family run Vintage Spirits and Grill, downtown on the corner of University and Frances. Now they’re planning to pull in even more of their plan to open a new brew pub on the site of the old JT Whitney’s. In addition to the folks working downtown now, owner Trent Kraemer’s cousin (who he described as an award winning brewmaster) will brew the beer, his uncle will handle the finances, and they’ll grow hops and barley at his grandparents’ farm outside Madison. They plan to bring in local ingredients to use for the food.

The new bar would have lower capacity then Whitney’s did and they’re sacrificing some bar space for a larger banquet space in the back to support meetings and smaller weddings.

Clear supported with the stipulation that the requested entertainment license would only be used for the banquet space. Schumacher moved to approve with Clear’s condition, and the motion carried.

Very cool to see that at least a portion of the hops and malts will be grown at a local family farm and always good to see another (hopefully) quality beer establishment on the West Side.  While I never had a chance to sample a lot of J.T.’s offerings outside of a few festivals, most reviews were lukewarm at best.  With the Great Dane creeping further west with its Hilldale location, the new crew will have to step its game up as they will no longer be the only players in the West Side brewpub game.  Looking forward to checking them out in the future.

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