$50K kickstarter sought to fund rehabilitation and conversion of 1380 Williamson
1380 Williamson Street is slowly evolving into Gib’s, a swanky waiting area for the space-challenged Grampa’s Pizzeria next door.
Not even a year after Grampa’s Pizzeria opened they had a problem, a very good problem. Most nights, especially the weekends, there was nary a table to be had. The approximately 45 seat restaurant serves a staple of four to five well thought-out pizza offerings along with inventive sides that change with the seasons or the creative whims of Co-Owner and Executive Chef Gilbert Altschul.
The small location also has its cozy charm but very little space for patrons who are waiting to be seated. Earlier this year Altschul partnered with notable cocktail creator Hastings Cameron and Grampa’s bar manager Josh Swentzel to open Imaginary Bar next door at 1380 Williamson Street to provide a loungey “waiting room” experience for diners.
As the project moved forward the restoration work became quite extensive and pricey causing Altschul to buyout Swentzel and Cameron. The two-story bar has been renamed Gib’s Bar but will retain much of the original intent, however Altschul is energized by the new project including culinary inspiration from such things as salmon in a cone.
Sunday Aperitivo event will debut future Imaginary Bar offerings
The cocktail lounge slated to open at 1380 Williamson now has a name, Imaginary Bar. One of its missions is to cater to dinner patrons waiting for tables next door at Grampa’s Pizzeria (background).
A unique event Sunday (May 18) at Osteria Papvero will celebrate the Italian ritual tradition of Aperitivo or pre-dinner, while debuting possible food and drink offerings planned for Imaginary Bar which will open later this year at 1380 Williamson Street.
Aperitivo emanates from the latin word meaning “to open” and for Italians means consuming light culinary fare such as nuts, olives, cheeses, and meats along with a dry vermouth, campari or other light liquor. This combination is meant to get your stomach rumbling and ready for a larger meal later on.
In a sense, Your Imaginary Papa: An Aperitivo Social plans to open the curtain a bit on the customer experience one might expect at Imaginary Bar, which is intended to be an apertivo-like experience for people waiting to dine next door at Grampa’s Pizzeria.
Developments at each end of street highlight contrasting neighborhood priorities
1380 Williamson Street is currently vacant, but 16 Bar Spoons wants to turn the residence into a craft cocktail lounge
While every Marquette Neighborhood Association Board meeting is important, tonight’s (March 20) meeting may further illuminate the difference in preferences for development on Williamson Street. With the neighborhood already at loggerheads over too much residential development at 722 and now 706 Williamson; a proposal to convert an existing residence into a craft cocktail lounge did not earn MNA’s Preservation & Development Committee recommendation at Wednesday’s meeting.
Josh Swentzel (Star Liquor, Grampa’s Pizzeria, Tip Top Tavern), Hastings Cameron (Forequarter, Underground Food Collective) and Gilbert Altschul (Grampa’s Pizzeria, Mickey’s Tavern) have formed 16 Bar Spoons, LLC. to lease the property at 1380 Williamson which is currently owed by Ben Altschul (Gilbert’s brother) and which Swentzel says is currently vacant. The yet to be named lounge divided the committee since the location would turn a two-unit residence into a commercial establishment.