If I thought it would be feasible, the only thing for sale at my pub would be my beer. Brewing it, drinking it and sharing it with other people are the driving forces behind this whole process. Craft beer isn't as prolific as its media coverage seems to imply, though. Individuals may go out of their way for it, but groups of people generally demand a variety of drinks. Selling nothing but house beer might work in a bar-heavy block of NYC with lots of pub crawlers, but it wouldn't fly here. Not yet, at least. Enter Jane, who will hopefully quit her job soon so we can tell you who she is :).
The word 'brewpub' is synonymous with food, but would we really need to make it ourselves? Early in our conceptual planning, we figured we could set up a deal with someone like Glass Nickel and have our food catered, sort of like how High Noon Saloon does. I started being honest with myself, though, about why I choose certain bars over others. When I go to the Great Dane, for example, it's usually for a meal. Even though they brew great beer, I'd rarely go there if the food wasn't stand-alone good. If that's true for me, a @#$% brewer, how could I expect other people to behave differently? Selling food that's already available around town would satisfy hungry people who are already at the pub, but it probably wouldn't draw new people in.
Enter Tristan Straub. Tristan is a chef at the Maple Bluff Country Club, and had previously cooked at L'Etoile. His altar ego is SiNiK.aL.KiNiD, an artist trying to find a home for hip-hop in Madison. We're extremely impressed with his food knowledge and he's helping us figure out things like ingredient sources, recipe design and kitchen layout. We're hoping he'll stick with us for a while, and even let us pay him at some point. Right now, though, he insists on helping us out of the goodness of his heart. We'll take it!