New restaurant is Madison’s premium casual oasis, providing the best food in a relaxed atmosphere for the perfect escape
Plans were made, work had been well underway, and a schedule was being met. Everything was progressing as it should, and nothing seemed to be able to disrupt achieving the goal. Then COVID-19 struck. The way of living we had become accustomed to and took for granted was immediately placed into question. Stores, restaurants, schools, government agencies and services all shut down. Concerts, sporting events and public gatherings were abruptly canceled. We waited and wondered what was next as life momentarily slowed to a crawl.
For Tom and Ashley Brown, it became a great asset in making their dream even better. What may have seemed like disappointment and uncertainty at first, helped to refine and perfect what would become Tom Brown’s Restaurant, Madison’s premier casual oasis for an exceptional dining experience.
Back up several months — the Browns had renovated an abandoned historic mansion in Mississippi and launched their first restaurant. Then they discovered the Madison area and realized it was the perfect place to plant roots and launch their next restaurant.
“Everything pointed to Madison,” Ashley Brown said about their decision to move. “Everything worked out so easy, God’s hands were all over it. It is just where we are meant to be.”
They settled on a location for their new business venture, a place that had been on their radar screen from day one and set their sights on opening a unique dining experience that would offer patrons a much needed temporary departure from the hustle and bustle of life.
Work started on their new dream, Tom Brown’s Restaurant at 8141 Highway 72 West in the Shoppes of Madison, on October 14, 2019.
The growth that had attracted the Brown’s to Madison also pushed them to have a more hands-on approach in building their dream. Resources and help were scarce because of all the construction and development in the area, so they jumped in and completed a lot of it themselves.
“Tom has been in real estate and I have always owned my own embroidery business, for about 24 years,” explained Ashley. Together, they used their skills to create a visual oasis, one that would expertly compliment their culinary offerings.
“Everything you see, they put the chairs together, they did the wall paneling — everything,” said marketing manager Amanda Homelvig. “It is amazing what they were able to accomplish. It took a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears.”
The hard work paid off. Tom Brown’s unique oasis is decorated with velvet seats, stunning chandeliers, custom artwork, and wall-to-wall brass accents — all completed themselves as they prepared for the spring opening.
Then COVID-19 struck, and the brakes were applied. “It put a hindrance in everything,” said Tom Brown. “There was a lot of speculation of what would happen next and how everyone would proceed going forward in the new normal environment. “There was no guidebook on how to handle a situation like this,” Ashley added. “There is no guidebook on running a restaurant during a global pandemic, and certainly no guidebook on launching a restaurant during one.”
She said the break gave them time to rest and focus on doing everything possible to prepare the best for their patrons and community. They spent time fine tuning the restaurant and the staff, to provide an exceptional experience in the right kind of atmosphere when they could eventually open.
“When the Governor said restaurants could begin to reopen, Tom Brown took a step back and delayed opening. “We wanted to make sure the staff were confident in their roles to help the patrons have the best possible experience,” Ashley said.
On June 1, Tom Brown’s Restaurant opened and has been met with praise and raves over the menu, atmosphere, and service.
“I think people look at us as an escape,” Ashley said. “We focus as much as possible to make our patrons very comfortable and still have all the policies and social distancing procedures in place to keep the patrons secure and safe.”
Coming to Tom Brown’s Restaurant is designed to be that needed break from reality. It’s coming in and getting the finest of everything in a unique setting and being able to come in your way — dressed in a casual style if that is what you want.
“Its great food, great cocktails, great beer on tap and great wines. If you want to dress up, dress up. If you don’t, then don’t,” Ashley said.
Of course, the main attraction is the food, something that the Brown’s take a lot of pride in offering to their patrons. Tom Brown’s focuses on serving only the finest food, from Black Angus Prime beef to fresh seafood. “We make sure we only serve the best,” said Tom, who is also the master chef. “All of our steaks come from the top 2% of beef available.”
Tom hand cuts the steaks, which are aged a minimum of 21 days. “You just can’t get these off the street,” he said. “We strive to bring our patrons the quality of food they cannot normally get, so that when they do come here it’s not just another steak or seafood place. We offer only the best we can get.”
One example is the TOMahawk, a 38 oz. steak that is 20 inches long….wow!
Their seafood is flown in fresh from Hawaii. “We won’t always know exactly what we’re getting because it’s going to come out of the ocean literally hours prior to being served. We know it’ll be the best of what was caught though,” Tom said.
Thirty-six beers will be on tap, including a house-brewed blood orange IPA, crafted by a local brewery. There is also a signature drink list that will vary with the seasons and trends.
Tom Brown’s also has a signature appetizer that is an egg roll with pulled pork, collard greens, drizzled on top with their own special white and mustard barbecue sauces. “They are amazing,” Ashley said. “They will certainly make you come back.”
Premium dining surrounded by an atmosphere that is very inviting, relaxed, and exciting, Tom Brown’s has quickly become Madison’s premier gathering place. That is something Ashley said was her ultimate goal — a place where you can walk away from at the end of the experience with some great new friends.
Tom Brown’s is located at 8141 Highway 72 W in the Shoppes of Madison, near Target. They are open Monday to Thursday, 4-9 p.m., and stay open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They will eventually expand to include lunch hours later.
To make reservations, call (256) 715-1283. You can find them on the web at www.tombrownsrestaurant.com.