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

Lemonade Stand Evolution

Its not enough these days for kids to have a pitcher of lemonade and a stack of glasses to make a few bucks to spend on ice cream. The other day as part of a yard sale offering in the 900 block of Jenifer, a sub-10 year-old was hawking some original art. He was at it again today with no price cut; this art appreciates and is appreciated.

Summer Sippin’ at Old Sugar Distillery

How to make Wisconsin’s Cocktail: The Brandy Old Fashioned

Yesterday at the Old Sugar Distillery on Main Street the Friday after work cocktails were flowing. OSD offers a nice line-up of quality drinks to sip on a warm afternoon but we were curious about how they made Wisconsin’s Cocktail: The Brandy Old Fashioned.

The drink originated in New York City as early as 1855 and may have been named after a racing horse named “fashion”. While early recipes called for whiskey, Wisconsin folks started using Wisconsin brandy and thus the name was born.

Old Sugar Distillery bartender Chris was kind enough to walk us through how to make a proper Wisconsin Brady Old Fashioned using their in-house Brandy Station brandy made from grapes grown in Dane County.

Waterfront Festival: Rites of Summer

Weekend event kicks off summer festivals in Marquette neighborhood

Last year summer started in March, this year we are not sure if its going to make the June 21 deadline. Needless to say this will not stop the summer festival season from beginning with the Marquette Neighborhood Association’s Marquette Waterfront Festival this weekend (June 8 and 9) at Yahara Place Park.

The festivities will begin early Saturday with the Dandelion Dash, a fun run with various distances, culminating in the dash involving the youngest runners making 100 yard scamper. The 5K race is open to all while there will be two heats for the Dandelion Dash; one for children 6 to 9 years old and one for children 5 and under. See after the jump why this last race can not be missed.

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Dance Like Noone Is Listening

Plan B and neighbors reach agreement to fix noise as ALRC renews license

An early graphic on the side of Plan B which has since been scraped off. If the agreement is approved by all parties a new mural will go up on this wall.

An early graphic on the side of Plan B which has since been scraped off. If the agreement is approved by all parties a new mural will go up on this wall.

In the hours before the Alcohol Licensing Review Committee was to meet to rule on the renewal of Plan B’s license, the nightclub, the Marquette Neighborhood Association and neighbors concerned by noise came to an agreement about how to address the issue collaboratively.

The agreement is independent of any ALRC action, but evolved out of the committee’s directive from last year’s separation hearing for all the parties to continue to work together. Later during the hearing, the ALRC renewed Plan B’s license.

It is unclear if the renewal was a direct result of the announced agreement but City of Madison representatives were closely involved in helping to craft the deal. The agreement is still tentative and the MNA Board will consider whether to endorse at its meeting on Thursday.  Continue reading

Opinion: Plan B Should Try Harder

Nightclub should get license renewal but still fails at the simple things

My location (right) on the night I heard the Plan B hubub. Without trying I was able to clearly hear talking and music from over 200 yards away.

My location (right) on the night I heard the somewhat typical Plan B hubbub. Without trying, I was able to clearly hear talking and music from over 200 yards away. Base image courtesy: Google

In a few days the Alcohol License Review Committee will hold a separate hearing to further examine the renewal of Plan B nightclub’s alcohol license. This is the second straight year the establishment, located at 924 Williamson Street, has received extra scrutiny rather than their license being renewed in a block by the City of Madison.

This blog has looked at the various reasons for the problem surrounding Plan B’s operation, and both the owners of the club and neighbors affected by the noise have legitimate beefs. But it was not until Sunday night, May 26, when I took Plan B co-owner Rico Sabatini up on his challenge to take a late night walk on Jenifer Street, that I concluded that Sabatini and his partner Cory Gresen are not trying hard enough.

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Plan B Alcohol License to Receive Special Hearing

ALRC votes to separate license renewal after MNA request

The City of Madison Alcohol Licensing Review Committee voted Wednesday night (May 22) to separate Plan B Nightclub’s (924 Williamson Street) license renewal and consider it at a special hearing on June 3. The separation was requested by the Marquette Neighborhood Association, in a letter, citing unresolved noise issues since the nightclub opened in 2009.

While the typical nightclub noise has largely been addressed, at least three households on the 900 block of Jenifer Street continue to cite lost sleep from low bass frequency noise emanating from Plan B. Both the club’s owners, and an audio specialist they hired to assess the location, agree bass noise is being transmitted through the roof of the club; housed in an older concrete block building that used to house Star Photo, a commercial photo processing business.  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

Gehbardt Proposal Selected for Block 800

Neighborhood leader calls plan a “Home Run” as grocery store closer to reality

The 800 North Block East Washington Avenue Committee has unanimously voted to recommend that a proposal submitted by Gebhardt Development be built on the city-owned parcel of land next to Reynolds Park. The $63.7 million proposal features 48,000 square feet of commercial space, 262 residential units and a 50,000 square-foot Metcalfe’s grocery store which has been long-desired by the neighborhood.

In addition to approving the proposal, the committee added six additional recommendations as City Staff move on to the negotiating phase with Gebhardt. The recommendations expand on the sustainability aspects of Gebhardt’s design that was already highly advanced. The committee also set guidelines for housing affordability as well as a call for union-neutral commercial tenants.

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Marsha Rummel Wins Fourth Term

Challenger Scott Thornton says rogue mailer sunk his bid

Marsha Rummel

Alder Marsha Rummel won a fourth term representing Madison’s Sixth Aldermanic District.

What was termed as a competitive race by area media turned into a strong victory by a yawning margin for incumbent Marsha Rummel over challenger Scott Thornton in Madison’s Sixth Aldermanic District.

Tuesday’s vote total showed Rummel winning by 1500 votes in the hyper-aware Near East Side which was roiled by the appearance of a shadowy political mailer days before the election from a union-backed outside democratic group that normally meddles in state level issues.

“What a good night. Thank you!” Rummel posted on her personal Facebook page soon after several people reported on Twitter that she had declared victory.

Marsh Rummel and Scott Thronton, both neighborhood leaders, were not known to be rivals before the election and had worked together often in the past. The two candidate’s similarities on the issues left Thornton needing to find any angle to sow doubt about Rummel in the eyes of district residents. He attacked her communication, her votes on City Council, and her supposed lack of spine when it came to taking positions on issues.  Continue reading