A burger joint and bar serving Point Beer with four locations in and near Milwaukee, is headed to the Madison area.
Brian Ward, who owns Point Burger Bar, said he anticipates opening in early August after an extensive remodeling job on what is currently Quaker Steak & Lube, 2259 Deming Way in Middleton.
Ward said that restaurant is closing Sunday, but an employee at Quaker Steak & Lube couldn't confirm that. "There's been a lot of rumors. We haven't been officially told anything by management yet."
A manager who only gave his name as Mike, said he couldn't confirm the restaurant's closing, either.
"We're doing a complete remodel, so it looks like one of our restaurants," said Ward, who in April opened his fourth Point Burger Bar location in the Milwaukee suburb of New Berlin in what had also been a Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant. Ward did a quick turnaround with that restaurant, too, and was able to retain much of its staff. He hopes to do the same in Middleton.
Ward said the Middleton Quaker Steak & Lube franchisee also owned the New Berlin one and one in Janesville. The Janesville Quaker Steak & Lube recently closed, but Ward said he's not planning to go in there.
A call to the Janesville location to confirm its closure went unanswered and Janesville no longer shows up on the Quaker Steak & Lube map of locations. The franchisee could not be reached.
A Quaker Steak & Lube operated for a short time starting in 2010 at 222 W. Gorham St., in a space that became part of HopCat.
The Middleton Point Burger Bar will be about 14,000 square feet, second only in size to Ward's Pewaukee location, which is 15,000 square feet. The capacity at Middleton will be about 400, Ward said.
The Middleton location will have a drive-thru, a patio, and a game room. Ward is also adding 85 TVs that are 65-inches each. "It really becomes a great place to watch a game, a great place to be with your family, a great place to be with your friends," he said.
The space is divided into sections and is big enough where different kinds of groups can interact in different areas, Ward said.
Ward has an agreement with Stevens Point Brewery to use the Point Beer name and offer its beer. Point Burger Bar in Middleton will have 30 taps with 26 of those from Stevens Point Brewery, Ward said.
Stevens Point Brewery, founded in 1857, has a number of brands, including Point Beer, a line of cider called Ciderboys, two lines of craft beer, and soda.
As for burgers, they'll start at $8.95 and go up to $17.95 for a 1-pound Angus burger. The menu also has appetizers, sandwiches and entrees.
Ward, who owns the Downtown Milwaukee steakhouse Ward's House of Prime, opened his first Point Burger Bar in late 2015. He was inspired after a trip to Las Vegas, where he visited Gordon Ramsay's Burger at Planet Hollywood and Hubert Keller's Burger Bar at Mandalay Place.
It was eye-opening for Ward to see what the big-name chefs were doing with burgers, he said. "Vegas kind of leads the way for all of the dining industry and the trends and what's happening."
If all goes well with the Middleton restaurant, Ward envisions another in the Madison area. Eventually he imagines 20 to 30 Point Burger Bars, and eventually plans to expand outside of Wisconsin.
Ward said he's excited to enter the Madison market and stressed that Point Burger Bar offers a family-friendly environment.
"We're a great place for parents to be able to bring their kids where the parents can sit and enjoy the food also," he said. "We think just being a new concept -- us being local -- everything really fits the area."