Why is it so hard to find late-night breakfast food on the weekends in the heart of Madison’s downtown?
That was one of the driving questions that led two 25-year-old Madison residents to start planning Short Stack Eatery, a breakfast restaurant slated to bring cajun biscuits and gravy and sweet potato pancakes to students 24 hours a day Thursday through Sunday.
“Madison is known as such a great college town, why don’t we have this?” Sinéad McHugh said about the city’s lack of late night pancakes. “Everyone loves breakfast for dinner.”
While traveling abroad as students, McHugh and Alex Lindenmeyer were hanging out in a bar in Antigua, Guatemala, when they came up with the idea to open a late night breakfast restaurant in a college town. Short Stack Eatery, an idea three years in the making, will likely be realized in the first few months of 2014, McHugh said.
Short Stack Eatery will offer customers breakfast for dinner on the weekends, McHugh said. The restaurant will be open 24 hours starting 7 a.m. Thursday through 11 p.m. Sunday night, she said.
McHugh said she and Lindenmeyer began gathering restaurant experiences by taking business and restaurant management classes and joining mentor programs in Madison.
Lindenmeyer is currently the general manager at a nearby Denny’s, and McHugh is a manager for Roman Candle and former employee of Mickie’s Dairy Bar. Lindenmeyer said they both have a strong combination of experiences with breakfast restaurants and local businesses.
McHugh said they want to keep their menu simple, but offer well-made meals with the best ingredients. The planned entrees will include updated classics, such as cajun biscuits with gravy and sweet potato oatmeal pancakes.
“[Short Stack Eatery] is not like a Denny’s or an IHOP, we’ll have awesome local products and really simple items,” Lindenmeyer said.
Lindenmeyer said the two entrepreneurs plan to use locally-sourced ingredients to attract the “food audience” of Madison.
In their three years of planning for this restaurant, McHugh and Lindenmeyer have visited countless farms, such as Jones Dairy Farm in Fort Atkinson, Wis., to find the best places to source their ingredients. McHugh said they hope this will bring in not only customers, but also employees who have an interest or passion for agriculture and food.
“I think it’s the customers and employees,” McHugh said. “I think there’s a lot of agriculturists here at UW-Madison, so I think that’s a way to attract employees as well.”
Lindenmeyer said the restaurant will be closed to the public on weekdays to give the owners time for administrative and marketing work. They also plan to use the time to take their employees out on field trips to the farms and food sources to empower them by giving firsthand knowledge about the menu. Lindenmeyer added they hope employees will be able to share their knowledge with customers dining in the restaurant.
Lindenmeyer said they are currently in the process of negotiating a lease for a location in the downtown area and sorting out finances.
“We have a couple surprises, everyone will have to wait and see,” Lindenmeyer said.