A downtown Cambridge restaurant has shut down for the winter, with plans to re-open in mid-April with expanded hours and a wider menu.
Charles and Treena Fiesel opened PLOW, 159 W. Main St., in a historic mill building in late 2015. Its farm to fork menu has especially focused on pork and lamb that the couple raises on their Sun Prairie farm, as well as on fresh produce, fresh fish and prime rib.
In an interview, Charles Fiesel said PLOW’s focus on serving locally raised food won’t be abandoned when it reopens.
Rather, he said, in tandem with being open up to twice as many hours, the revamped menu is envisioned to expand to include more wood-fired pizza, more specialty beer and a new carry-out menu.
PLOW has recently been open limited hours, just a few nights a week for dinner and for lunch on Saturday. Fiesel said he expects that to increase from its current 17 hours a week to 30-35 hours.
Fiesel said a weekend brunch is also one possibility beginning in April, as well as some earlier dinner hours that might appeal to local seniors.
Fiesel said in addition to a thorough cleaning of the interior during the shutdown, the flow of the kitchen is being reconfigured, with expanded space for wood-fired pizza prep. He said that expansion won’t affect the restaurant’s space a lot, likely resulting in the loss of one table in the bar area.
The result will be “a more open space for the wood-fired area,” he said, noting that the planned expanded pizza menu “goes along with the nostalgia of the building,” which was constructed in 1848. The former mill was converted into a restaurant in 1992 and has since had a series of owners.
“Once in a while you’ve got to reboot. You’ve got this list of projects and you need to get them done,” Fiesel said.
Fiesel said the kitchen reconfiguration will affect how efficiently staff are able to work, which restaurant patrons will benefit from. He said additional jobs are being envisioned to cover the expanded hours.
Fiesel said the winter-long closure began Sunday, Jan. 12. He stressed its temporariness.
“We want to make sure that people understand we are very heavily invested in Cambridge. We love the community. We’re not going anywhere; we’re here for the long haul,” he said.
The Fiesels own a total of four buildings on Cambridge’s Main Street, none of which other than PLOW currently has a permanent occupant. During the recent Christmas holidays, some of that space was opened for local artist pop-up shops.
Fiesel said he has long envisioned luring a small brewery to Cambridge, whose offerings would mesh well with PLOW’s food, that would operate out of one of those buildings. He said that remains a vision.
He said the new carry-out menu will be finalized over the winter but might include items like salads, pizza and lasagna, that transport home well, as well as items like family-sized tubs of pulled pork.
“You’re going to see a lot more pulled pork, and lot more wood-fired pizza, things that are easy to take out,” he said.
He said he hopes the change will appeal to commuters who pass through Cambridge every morning and evening, and to busy Cambridge families returning home from work.
“We want to give them a reason to stop in downtown Cambridge to pick something up on the way home,” he said.
In the bar area, Fiesel also said, “you’re going to see more tap lines,” for locally brewed beer.
That doesn’t mean current beer, mixed drink and other bar offerings are going away, he said “We’ll still have those things,” he said.
Fiesel said as spring approaches, updates on the reopening will be posted on the restaurant’s website and on social media.