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the dirt on JT Whitney's

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the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby eriedasch » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:22 pm

Place has been shut down. Many employees not even sure what is going on.

Don't mean to start any rumors, but that much can be confirmed.

Anyone else know what is going on?

Not my most or least favorite place, but have the MAMA's benefit coming up 3/21 and wonder if we should be looking for another venue?
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby wallrock » Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:42 pm

I heard three separate stories last Friday night, culminating in the explanation that the owner had been evicted and a new ownership group had bought the place and intended to carry on. Both bartenders I spoke with stated that Rich was brewing new beer, and the shortages they had on Friday night were a result of the lag between when he was told to stop and the time it will take for new brews to come online. As we were leaving we asked if we ought to take our Mug Club glasses with us "just in case" and we were told not to, that it was no big deal and that things would soon return to normal. Obviously that isn't the case right now, but I'm still holding out a little hope.

It was pretty clear there were some issues, as new beer varieties stopped being introduced about a month ago and the overall feel of the place seemed a bit strained. I've heard that Hawthorne's in Oregon is for sale (same owner) and I don't believe it's too much of leap to figure the owner got himself overextended between the two places.
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby Galoot » Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:04 pm

Well that sucks. Where am I supposed to go grade my papers in peace, now?

I feel bad for Chris, Karin, Todd, and all the other bartenders. I've actually been making an effort to get out more and spend a bit, since I know my job is fairly depression-proof, and service industries are hurting.
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby LargeMarge » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:42 pm

There was an article a few months ago in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. J.T. Whitney's was deducting court-ordered child support payments from employees' checks. They were not forwarding this money to the state. Those employees were then considered delinquent in their child support and had to pay again.

I am not sure if this has anything to do with them closing. It made me never want to eat there.
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby rick » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:58 am

The Milwaukee newspaper story wasn't about JT Whitney's. It listed them in a sidebar as being cited for similar measures, along with several other Wisconsin companies.

We were told the company is reorganizing and will reopen.

We've had nothing but good rapport with JT Whitney's and especially Chris, the manager. I'm sure many, if not all, of the musicians who have worked there over the years would agree.

This is unfortunate for the MAMAs benefit; the timing could not be worse. The JT's fundraiser was one of more successful events and JT's has been more than accomodating, donating the free beer prize and also a bunch more gift certificates, etc. At the end of the night, Chris has come up to me with additional donations that he raised among his employees.

We've been attempting to move the event to another brewery in town but no news so far. It will be difiicult, if not impossible, to find a venue that has been as generous to us as JT's.
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:46 am

Bumped for udub.
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby Right Bower » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:50 am

Am I alone in saying I kind of thought this place was lame? The food and the beer both seemed to be just ok.
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby eriedasch » Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:16 pm

Right Bower wrote:Am I alone in saying I kind of thought this place was lame? The food and the beer both seemed to be just ok.

Depends on what you are comparing it to. I've probably called it lame at one time or another but still had some good points. I always thought the beer was pretty good, but I like most micro-brews so I'm no expert. The food used to be good maybe 4 or 5 years ago. Now I don't eat there. For me, the way they treated the bands was the good thing. Better guarentee than most places we play and unlimited tap beer for the band. Location was tough, but for people that live around there I bet they are glad JT's existed. They give you unlimited free tap beer on your b-day. And I've known Chris, bar manager for many years and would support and wish him the best at whatever he does. Hopefully they can reopen.
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby Cookie Cutter » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:03 pm

I don't like hearing about locally owned places going out of business during these tough economic times. The chains I could give a rip about if they close or not another will be put in there place.

The building Hawthrone's is in has been a couple things since that building was built. Oregon just doesn't support the upscale places. It is too bad, it was a nice place to have a drink. I blame the location.

Personally, I did not care for JT's food. But the beer was Great! I hope they still keep some of the same beers and not introduce all new beer with the new owner.
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby Igor » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:57 pm

For the regulars, it was pretty clear what was going on...

There were always better places to go if you were a beer snob, or wanted top line food. Also, some of the new wait staff struggled.

But in this part of town, there were not very many neighborhood bars that were better. The choices that remain are essentially Bennett's and the Old Towne Pub, along with Babe's, which is kind of big to be a neighborhood bar. All this despite a less than ideal location, and a building that had seen it's better days.

I hope that they can reopen - not holding my breath, but maybe there is a shot. The experienced staff they had were great, and they always seemed to be busier than comparable places on the West Side. They were also very supportive of charitable causes, and for that matter, had a much more enjoyable poker tournament than Badger Poker could ever hope to offer.
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby white_rabbit » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:52 pm

Why so many westside bars in strip malls?
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby Huckleby » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:28 pm

I thought it was a nice place to go for a fish fry, plus they hosted dance events. ITs a loss to west side social life.

I thought their beers sucked, and I am no beer snob. Capital Brewery it was not.
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby makmadison » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:41 pm

Capital Brewery focuses on lagers, JTs is ale only ..... I don't care for lagers, so avoid Capital.

I was looking forward to the MAMA event. I won some nice prizes last year. Great music too. How many Madison music venues are no cover?

FWIW, the guy running JTs and Hawthornes was totally focused on Hawthornes. He didn't inform the JTs managers that there was a lingering child support bill, so this thing was paid right after the news story.

Also, when ownership changes the liquor license must be changed, as well as the tax license for brewing the beer. Who knows how long this will take.

If/When JTs re-opens, expect the similar ales and menu. I would expect the staff to be different, because how many people will wait weeks and weeks without looking for another job?
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby eriedasch » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:17 pm

makmadison wrote:I was looking forward to the MAMA event. I won some nice prizes last year. Great music too. How many Madison music venues are no cover?

The event is still on, just moved to another brewery (and also no cover charge):

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=45488
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Re: the dirt on JT Whitney's

Postby wallrock » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:09 pm

makmadison wrote:Capital Brewery focuses on lagers, JTs is ale only ..... I don't care for lagers, so avoid Capital.

There was the occasional lager from time to time, but JT's was mostly ales. Capital has been bringing out more ales lately, but I'll always be a die-hard fan of their lagers.
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