Nicole Aimone, Editor-in-Chief
Freddy Valentine’s Public House in Spring Green is getting a new menu and a new name come May, Last Leaf Public House will take its place downtown.
The restaurant will operate under Dave Owen, the previous owner of Freddy Valentine’s, which closed in September 2020, and will focus on a scaled back pizza, appetizer and cocktail menu, something Owen said he had been considering since 2019.
“Last Leaf was a concept we kicked around in 2019, we even put up signs within Freddy’s that we would be turning a new leaf in 2020 and rebranding as Last Leaf Public sometime in 2020,” said Owen. “Freddy’s had always been popular but we thought it was time for a change, to simplify based on kitchen staff skill sets we were hiring and make it a more sustainable long term concept, then COVID hit that was the end of what we thought would be our future as a restaurant in Spring Green.”
Following the closure of Freddy Valentine’s in September, the historic State Bank of Spring Green building the restaurant called home went up for sale. According to a Facebook post from the Freddy Valentine’s page on April 5, Owen struck a deal with a restaurant group out of Madison to purchase Freddy’s and the building, however, in December the deal fell through. Own has retained ownership of the building and will continue operating Last Leaf while the building remains up for sale.
“The building is still up for sale, but now that I have jumped into this new venture I am committed long term, I want to make this into a success but not knowing what the future holds I will proceed cautiously optimistic,” said Owen.
Owen said Last Leaf will be open at least five days a week and offer completely made-from-scratch pizza that uses locally sourced ingredients. The new restaurant will also focus on craft cocktails and provide a selection of wine and craft beer.
The restaurant will also work towards working on delivery in the Spring Green area after it is operating smoothly said Owen.
The name Last Leaf is a reference to a Tom Waits song.
“The Owen family are big Tom Waits fans, a talented, bright eccentric, the lyrics are about a defiant, resilient, hopeful leaf that is not going to let the fall wind get the best of him. It’s also a metaphor for Waits, a unique artist who is in the twilight of his career. I wouldn’t say I am a unique artist, otherwise the metaphor fits me very well. Additionally, the wind is the pandemic, we all are the leaf, defiant, resilient, hopeful individuals, families and communities like Spring Green during this unprecedented difficult time. I think it’s the perfect name for this imperfect time,” said Owen.
The restaurant is expected to be open by late May.
“I know people will miss Freddy’s, Last Leaf won’t be FV’s, but I think we can make it in to a great restaurant that I can be proud of, that the community will support, be proud of and enjoy as they did with Freddy’s, maybe even attract a broader customer base that love pizza.”