My teetotaling heart raps double-quick at Jane Utecht's report that Madison will soon have one less place to get alcohol. (And Gaia be praised, it's not being replaced with a smut shop). Main Street's new addiction: chocolate!
...the Trojan Tap is being revamped into a sweet shop.
Vicki and Ricky Johns bought the building last month and plan on serving homemade chocolate, and they will have an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. They will also have espresso coffee and smoothies [Jane Utecht, "Face of Downtown Changes; 3 New Business Coming to S. Egan," Madison Daily Leader, 2014.06.24].
The only faint downside here: we never got to see the Trojan Tap fight off a copyright infringement suit from Church & Dwight.
Vicki and Ricky will start selling yummy, melty chocolate later in July. Bring a cooler.
But that's not all! Across the street, Madison über-Kapitalist Darin Namken and cronies Scott Delzer and Todd Knodel are gutting Rumors, a long-time anchor of Madison's fabled Four Corners. There will still be beer, but it will be snazzy beer:
The Pub House will serve craft beer, cocktails and full-service food options. It should be ready to open sometime this fall, but "it won't be Rumors anymore," Namken said.
They have opened the front areas of the 6,500-square-foot building so that it will now seat about 120 people. There will be a banquet room in the back for 50-60 people, Namken said.
The new establishment will be casual and fun, he said. "It will be a pretty neat atmosphere."
The kitchen will be mostly new, and they plan on putting in another walk-in cooler "strictly for tap beers," Namken said. They will carry microbrewed beer, but will not be making their own at this time [Utecht, 2014.06.24].
Casual, fun, with food worth showing off to visitors? That's plenty for me! And my wife tells me good beer is very Lutheran.
But wait! Won't such a great eatery and drinker cut into other Madison restaurants' market share? Heavens forfend, cries Namken:
He emphasizes that the purpose of the Pub House is not to compete with other establishments in town, but to provide a "new option" [Utecht, 2014.06.24].
Maybe an über-capitalist can explain how The Pub House offering casual dining and beer doesn't compete with the Stadium Sports Grill or Nicky's, which offer casual dining and beer.
Not that I mind—I hear competition is good for consumers and the economy. (Maybe a little competition will get Nicky's to pave its parking lot.) And hey, a decent place to eat and drink with a big meeting room downtown will boost Main Street... and it could even help make the business case for building a nice downtown hotel and convention center. (Heck of an idea, don't you think, Darin?)