SconnieBar
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The new SconnieBar, picking up where Lucky's Bar & Grille left off on Regent Street, will keep the same casual, neighborhood sports-bar feel, but with more Wisconsin flavor.

"Our loose theme is 'celebrate Wisconsin' -- a lot of Wisconsin-themed beers on tap and food, and memorabilia and decor," said Billy Van Wie, a partner in the business.

Van Wie, 44, is opening the bar at 1421 Regent St., with his cousin, T.J. Van Wie, and Cory Waterman, whose family runs restaurant and bar businesses in Wisconsin Dells.

The three of them own the building and the bar. They have also enlisted Kelly Jordan, owner of Jordan's Big 10 Pub, as an operating partner, who will be responsible for the food and much of the day to day operations.

"We've always admired what she's done at her place," Van Wie said. "We're excited to have her on the team."

Jordan, who is in her 17th year of owning the Big 10 Pub, known for its prized fish fry, said SconnieBar gives her an opportunity to branch out.

The Big 10 Pub, while it has a huge menu, does it all on a small grill. "Now, we're actually going to have a grill that's a good size, so we can be even more creative there," she said.

SconnieBar will offer burgers, wraps, salads, appetizers and brats. Fish fry offerings will be similar without taking away from the Big 10 Pub, Jordan added. 

With the Sconnie grill, they'll be able to offer bigger fillets, hash browns, as well as more sautéed items, she said.

The menu isn't nailed down yet, but she is looking at offering a Wednesday fish fry, and possibly a Sunday brunch. 

Jordan will split her time between both places, with her Sconnie partners helping with administrative duties at the Big 10 Pub.

The men have a licensing agreement with Sconnie Nation co-founder Troy Vosseller to use the name of his Wisconsin-themed T-shirt company.  

The 4,000-square-foot SconnieBar got the approval of the city's Alcohol License Review Committee to have an outside game-day capacity of 1,160, with indoor seating for 160.

Lucky's is moving on August 22, and SconnieBar is looking at Sept 3 as a target opening date, Van Wie said. 

"The place definitely needs some work done," he said, noting that they've already started some work on the building's exterior.

"We are giving the iconic location the face lift it deserves," Van Wie said. "It's tired in there and needs to be updated."   

Van Wie and his cousin, T.J., were part of the original group of five that opened Lucky's at 1421 Regent St., in 2004 when they purchased the Oakcrest Tavern out of bankruptcy. 

They owned the bar until 2010, when they sold their share to partner Rod Ripley, who is now moving one block down Regent to a bigger venue. Ripley is opening Lucky's 1313 Brew Pub where Foreign Car Specialists used to be. 

Meanwhile, SconnieBar got approval to have live entertainment a few times a month. But it will primarily serve as a sports bar with plans for 35 TVs. The partners also intend to update the bar's sound system.

"We think we are the best venue down there for its atmosphere on game days," Van Wie said. "Our goal was never to be the biggest location or the biggest bar, but we want to be the best. That's why we've partnered with Kelly." 

Van Wie said the new owners are excited about the transformation of Regent Street.

"The street as a whole is going through a little bit of a revival," he said. "I think it's going to become more of a destination and not just on game days."

Jordan is also excited about a revitalized Regent Street, noting that nearby Monroe Street has always been better known for its restaurants and bars, where on Regent Street such establishments have always been more spread out. 

"We can step it up with the food on Regent Street," she said. 

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.