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Construction to move food carts off State St. nearly 6 months

Construction to move food carts off State St. nearly 6 months

On the first official day of food cart season, the university said a nearly six-month construction project will relocate about 20 food cart vendors between May 19 and Oct. 31.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison said Tuesday that the new locations are still being finalized, but many will be in the East Campus Mall area near the University Club and several on North Lake Street between State Street and Langdon on the Memorial Library side.

Construction is scheduled to begin after the semester ends and is planned to conclude before the beginning of the fall semester, according to the university.

The newly constructed State Street Mall is expected to include new paving, lighting, seating areas and a raised pedestrian crosswalk at North Park Street.

The UW said Madison has had food carts since 1977. In 1990, there were 20 food carts downtown. Now the vendors are spread out in numerous locations.

Improv troupe celebrates 10 years with free show

Improv troupe celebrates 10 years with free show

"I can still smell it. It was like rancid oil mixed with musty concrete."

That's the former artistic director of east-side-based Atlas Improv Co. describing the improv troupe's humble beginnings, which included holding classes in the dank basement of a Planned Parenthood. 

Neil Pohl now works in New York as a copywriter and studies improv at Magnet Theater. Pohl's been improvising for 14 years and was with the company in the beginning, when the group split from then ComedySportz Madison and founded Atlas.

On March 29 from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Atlas will present "PhatCamp: 10 years, 10 hours," a non­stop evening of improv offered up as a free event in celebration of the company's 10-year anniversary. 

Current artistic director, Kristina Martinez, credits the performers and the community for the group's decade of longevity.

Brasserie V Offers a Taste of Belgium

Brasserie V Offers a Taste of Belgium

By Michelle Li

The love of good food and drink didn't exactly come naturally to the man behind Brasserie V.

"I wasn't a great eater," jokes Matt Van Nest, owner of the Monroe Street restaurant. "I was kind of old-school meat and potatoes."

His palate, however, got a significant upgrade when he met his wife, Andrea. She drew on her experiences of living in France and introduced Matt to quality food. Soon they found themselves inviting friends over for hearty feasts and Belgian beer.

"We were always the entertainers of our group," says Van Nest. "And we both still love it to this day."

Sharp looks for men at Moda Italy

Sharp looks for men at Moda Italy

By Shayna Mace

Guys, if you're looking for a sartorial refresh for spring, stop into Moda Italy for a dash of European style. Fred Maghsoud's two-year-old men's store offers slim-cut suits, plus an array of button-ups, denim and accessories. His selection is refined and offers a different take on Midwest style than other local men's stores.

"When it comes to fashion, a lot of people like the Italian cuts, and I thought that bringing that here would be innovative," says Maghsoud, referring to his suiting assortment by Enzo, Mantoni and Bertolini. He points out that his 150 and 140 super wool, wool-silk blend, linen and cotton suits are made in the same factory as designer brands Armani Exchange and Issey Miyake, among others.

Dobra's closure points to changes in Madison's tea, State St. business culture

Dobra's closure points to changes in Madison's tea, State St. business culture

On Dobra Tea’s last day in business, owner Adam Ernst invited the community to come visit the State Street shop to drink tea and shatter teapots from around the world.

The gesture offered him an opportunity to share some of the philosophies surrounding tea culture and to gain a sense of closure as the tea shop closed its doors Feb. 9 after five years in downtown Madison.

“Tea in general encourages us to embrace the imperfection in life, the impermanence in life, and thus smashing teaware is a kind of symbol to communicate to people,” Ernst said. “We need that sort of catalytic breaking, smashing and severing of all contacts in order to see and reunite them. Simply as a symbol of impermanence it seemed very effective.”

As a teenager, Ernst, a Madison native, discovered a passion for tea far from Wisconsin during a visit to the East Coast.

Supporters: Despite spills, manure digesters make positive impact

Supporters: Despite spills, manure digesters make positive impact

In November, a pipe ruptured on Dane County's community manure digester, which converts cow waste into power. About 360,000 gallons of manure flowed through a dry ravine, according to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spokesman Bob Manwell. The spill entered a creek and reached the village of Waunakee, located more than two miles away, bringing with it an odor.

"As far as environmental damages, there was no immediate fish kill, which is a good sign," Manwell said. About 90 percent of the spill was cleaned up within a week, he said, but some of the spill, located in areas unreachable by equipment, remains.

"We're not saying there were no damages," Manwell said. "This is going to take some time, and we'll continue to monitor to see what impacts there may be."

New steakhouse to open on the Square next year

New steakhouse to open on the Square next year

Come spring, a new steakhouse called Prime 14 will be open on the Capitol Square.

The restaurant, to be located at 14 W. Mifflin St., will be the fourth establishment operated by the Noble Chef Hospitality group, which also owns Capital Tap Haus, Buck & Badger Northwoods Lodge and the Ivory Room Piano Bar.

"I've always wanted to do high-end dining, and I've always had a big passion for steakhouses,” said Jack Sosnowski, president of the Noble Chef group.

Prime 14 will inhabit the space of the now-closed Mirch Masala, Tabby and Jack's Pet Emporium and the old Amcore Bank and will seat 190 people. Construction has begun, and Sosnowski plans to open in May.

Prime 14 will embody a 1920s vibe; "a classic steakhouse," Sosnowski said. The menu will also feature seafood and vegetarian entrees, plus an extensive wine list.