Ox Cart Ale House will reopen in late March as Ox Cart Arcade, a totally rad barw steeped in ‘80s and ‘90s nostalgic fun. The restaurant will be Madison Restaurant Group’s first opening since Top Chef’s Justin Sutherland took over operations. The newly minted celebrity chef and Lowertown resident said they were looking for a sort of social living room for the area. “We can’t invite anyone over to our apartments - they’re tiny,” he quipped.
The result is a bar with a mix of vintage and new arcade games, a couch/lounging area, food that’s made for one-handed eating, and drinks that are just silly good fun. For one, there will be snowcones, lots and lots of boozy snowcones. There will also be a WuTang shot made with the drink the astronauts took to space, incandescent orange flavored Tang.
Visual elements will include a wall made entirely of VHS tapes, punches of color, and where there was once a giant chessboard, there will now be a lounge area that can be rented out for private events.
The Madison Group’s Molli O’Rouke said, “We’re all kids of the ‘80s and ‘90s and we’re just trying to pull fun stuff out of our childhood brains.”
OxCart Ale House originally opened in the summer of 2015 by Kevin Geisen and Joe Kasel who also owned Eagle Street Grill. The restaurant struggled to find consistency and an audience. Meanwhile it’s rooftop bar was an over-whelming immediate hit, making for a hard to manage balance between the two spaces during the short summer season. In 2016 Madison Group, which also operates Gray Duck Tavern, Handsome Hog, Public, and Fitzgerald’s took over the Geisen and Kasel’s restaurants. Justin Sutherland stepped up to lead that restaurant group in December of last year.
An opening date for Ox Cart Arcade will be announced soon.