Opening Set for Grampa’s

Paint and then patrons only left for new late-night pizza establishment

With the opening of Grampa’s Pizzeria only weeks away Owner and Chef Gilbert Altschul is focusing on the final details. The building, which was formerly Grandpa’s Gun Shop, has undergone quite the transformation in the past few months. Fresh drywall adorns every flat surface, newly stained cedar siding gives the building fresh pop, and an arty sculpture-like metal sign hangs above the front window which features a large flower box overflowing with fresh greenery.

The day I visited for an update, the din of construction was emanating from the restaurant, and I found Gilbert and Bar Manager Josh Swentzel in the backyard conducting an interview with a potential waitress.  Continue reading

MCBW: Potato Maibock and The Mickey Brat

Event pairs Mickey’s secret brats and new O’so brew on the cusp of national fame



Madison Craft Beer Week is in full swing and while there are dozens of events around the city, the O’so Tasting and Brat cook out with Catfish Stephenson event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m at Mickey’s Tavern Wednesday night (May 8) is a worthy mid-week stop.

I wrote last year about the event after encountering Underground Meat’s sample table featuring Goat Salami; an animal I had never tried before but ended up buying a package of the charcuterie that is made right here in the neighborhood.

While the beer was quite good, what truly left an impression last year was the most savory brats I have ever tasted. They were so good I spent the next year trying to find out who made them. Each subsequent visit to Mickey’s included an interrogation of a server or bartender about the mysterious cook and the magical recipe that produced brats that I’m sure Walter White would describe as “pharmaceutical grade”.  Continue reading

Grampa’s Pizzeria is Open Late

Grandson to add panache, build brand around bar-born family recipe

Gilbert Altschul is opening Grampa’s Pizzeria in the former space of Larry Gleasman’s Grampa’s Gun Shop.

One of Willy Street’s longtime artisans has quietly retired as Larry Gleasman recently closed his gunsmithing business, Grampa’s Gun Shop at 1374 Williamson Street, after 30 years. Gilbert Altschul, who grew up just a few blocks away, plans to re-invigorate the location and open Grampa’s Pizzeria honoring his own grandfather, using the elder’s pizza recipe that delighted his family for years.

Gilbert’s late grandfather, William VandeHey, first created his hand-rolled pizzas while serving in the Air Force in the 1950s and ‘60s. During that time, he opened a bar and eventually sold the pies out of his establishment for a few dollars apiece. The recipe would live on at family events, and Gilbert learned how to prepare the pizza from his dad, Dan Altschul, who had learned it from William.  Continue reading

Green Turret Brings Retail to Mickey’s

Come down for a beer and maybe that Hay Rake you have been needing

A wide selection of "recycled treasures" available at The Green Turret including some wooden skis and a knife holder.

A wide selection of “recycled treasures” are available at The Green Turret including some wooden skis and a knife holder.

You might not have noticed it, or maybe you have; but since last July there are hidden treasures for sale on the second floor of Mickey’s Tavern. The Green Turret, named for the iconic Victorian-esque architectural feature that gives Mickey’s its unique appeal, deals in what proprietor Marybeth Gaffney says are recycled treasures; not really antiques, but interesting older items.

Passing from the bar area in Mickey’s to the back rooms we have all walked past that stairwell and wondered what was at the top. Was it an apartment for some lucky soul who lived above this hipster haven, not minding the bands late into the night and the lively chatter on the patio in the summers?  Continue reading

Madison Craft Beer Week

O’so, salami, and brats at Mickey’s

O’so Brewing Company pours samples at Mickey’s Tavern May 10, 2012 during Madison Craft Beer Week.

I’ve been traveling so much that I almost missed Madison Craft Beer Week, but rectified that Thursday (May 10) at Mickey’s Tavern. A tasting event was held in the glorious late afternoon sun featuring beer from O’so Brewing Company of Steven’s Point, Pork and Goat salami samples from Underground Meats, and probably the most incredible tasting brats I have ever had.  Continue reading