A Pewaukee couple is opening a restaurant and bar on Williamson Street where painting is optional.

Karen Wilman Salituro is bringing PaintBar to 1224 Williamson St., in a new development across from the Willy Street Co-op. She and husband John Salituro had originally picked out a location on Monroe Street that fell through.

The couple opened a similar business in Wauwatosa in 2011 called Arté. They added an Arté in Delafield a year ago. Arté is centered on wine and painting. 

"The one in Madison will be focused more on just being a restaurant along with having the painting experience as well," Salituro said.

"We just wanted to get more into the feeling of a creative environment, still offering food and drink and the option to paint," she said, "but making people feel comfortable that if they don't want to paint, they can come in and enjoy a drink and be in the creative environment."

The menu at PaintBar will be focused on finger foods and small plates: flatbreads, cheese platters and appetizers, as well as sandwiches.

Salituro said she is hoping to open by the end of the year, ideally before Christmas. The capacity will be 99. She envisions some outdoor seating by next spring. 

"We are excited to bring this concept to Madison," said Salituro, who noted that paint bars/restaurants are gaining traction nationwide. There are about six studios now in the Milwaukee area.

Salituro said she wanted to open PaintBar in Madison because Madison already has a creative environment and there is not currently a similar restaurant/bar/art studio in the Madison ZIP code.

Customers can come in and sit at a table, and order food or drinks as they would in a restaurant. But at PaintBar they can also order a canvas, said Salituro, who is an architect as well as an artist.

She said customers would typically do smaller canvases at PaintBar, ranging from a 6 x 6  to a 10 x 10. She may add options depending on how those two sizes go over.

PaintBar will have ideas that customers can pick from, as well as step-by-step instructions, but every waiter or waitress will be an artist who can help customers along the way.

The business will also offer classes, where students will work on larger canvases. There will also be children's and family classes. The Salituros, who are both in their late 30s, are planning art camps next summer.

Prices start at $9 for a small canvas, and go up to $20 for a large canvas. Classes start at $35.

Customers can come in to eat and drink and not paint, or come in to paint and not eat or drink, she said.

The business will open at 10 a.m. and possibly stay open until midnight. The Salituros hope to bring in live music and hold open mic nights for music, poetry and possibly comedy -- "to continue to play up all the arts."

Read more Restaurant News at: http://go.madison.com/restaurantnews.

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Wisconsin State Journal food writer Samara Kalk Derby brings you the latest news on the Madison area's eclectic restaurant scene.