"We decided to pursue addressing the whole building and really taking the opportunity to revitalize the entire site," says Benjamin Altschul, new proprietor of the Tip Top Tavern on North Street. "It's a total renovation. We've updated the electrical and plumbing as well as all of the mechanicals."
Altschul purchased the Tip Top with his mother, Jane Capito, owner of Lazy Jane's and Mickey's, this past spring, and had hoped to reopen the spot by June. But the building was in worse shape than anticipated, and opening day has steadily rolled back all summer.
"For instance, we thought we could use in the old kitchen, but we've now put in a full new kitchen," says Altschul. "It's just been revealing itself along the way." He remains upbeat, calling the renovations "thrilling" and "awesome."
The current tentative opening date is set for early December, but since Altschul does not want to disappoint, he adds that it could be closer to the holidays. Workers are finishing as quickly as possible.
When the Tip Top does open, there will be a full menu and a mix of traditional and craft cocktails as well as tap beer. The restaurant will also serve brunch and an abbreviated late night menu.
An early look at the offerings shows burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads and pizzas, as well as a small tapas menu that features items like fried pickles and green chili carnitas. A couple of standout dinner items are the French Nasty (julienned potatoes tossed with barbecued beef short ribs, shredded cheese, sliced jalapeños, topped with a dollop of sour cream and scallions), and a full Wisconsin fish fry on Friday nights.
"Our hope," says Altschul, "is to bridge seventy years of Tip Top Tavern history with a creative, fresh style. We'll offer good food, great drinks, and a cool, comfortable atmosphere."
Tentative hours for the kitchen are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. weekdays, with earlier opening hours on the weekend -- Saturday and Sunday brunch will run from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and late night menu will be in effect from 11 p.m. until close.