By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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The district plans to open Courtside Grill, a fast-service restaurant that will cater to athletes looking for food inbetween or after games, in the second-floor space previously occupied by Owly Oop. The district’s goal is open with a soft launch in mid- to late-September.
“We want to cater to the hundreds and thousands of people that are coming into our facility on a regular basis,” said Danielle Potter, operations director for UW Health Sports Factory. “They’re not really sitting down for an hour and a half, two hours. They want to come in, have a meal for 30-45 minutes inbetween games, and they want to get on to the next thing.”
The district is finalizing its menu, but options will likely include wraps, salads, chicken wings, burgers and pretzel bites, Potter said. There will also be a drink menu that includes alcohol for the many adult sports leagues at the facility. On Monday, City Council members OK’d a liquor license for the facility.
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The district is taking over operation of the restaurant after Owly Oop, which was run by the team behind Prairie Street Brewhouse, opted to permanently close after roughly two years out of operation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were shut down for four or five months straight without any programming, then we were slowly able to get back to programming but it didn’t include food because there were no tournaments,” Potter said. “So they were a casualty of COVID. It was hard for them to come back and bounce back.”
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The district has already started running concessions, which were also previously handled by Owly Oop. The restaurant is the next step, and it’s something Potter says visitors have been asking for at the facility.
“People can’t wait,” Potter said. “We’re so busy with the concession that’s downstairs that we have to do a pop-up concession upstairs.”
The district expects to hire roughly a dozen part-time and seasonal workers to operate the restaurant. It will provide more details on the Courtside Grill as it gets closer to an opening date.