Five reasons PaintBar is a creative masterpiece

Five reasons PaintBar is a creative masterpiece
A palette for pizza: Pancetta and arugula pizza (front) and the Nutella-topped dessert pizza; co-owner John Salituro.

1. THE BACKSTORY: Madison’s latest creative eatery is the PaintBar on Willy Street. Owners John and Karen Salituro fell in love online long before doing so was cool and have since spent their days sketching out ideas on finding ways to employ and empower artists.

2. THE VIBE: Airy and spacious, the PaintBar sits across the street from Willy Street Co-op and invites patrons to either paint a picture on the spot or belly up to the forty-foot bar. High beams and exposed brick walls help you forget the building was once an appliance parts warehouse. “It’s very creative, welcoming and warm,” says Karen. “Come in and feel like you can sit down right away and get inspired by what’s around us.”

3. THE FOOD: Flatbread pizzas and panini sandwiches are the main attractions. They’re perfect for snacking while taking a painting class or trying the freestyle options, which allow customers to take printed instructions to their table to paint on their own.

4. THE MUST-TRY: You can’t go wrong with the margherita pizza. It’s a flatbread with San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, oven-dried tomatoes and basil pesto. The pancetta and arugula pizza with honey goat cheese is a fan favorite, and the dessert pizza with Nutella, fresh raspberries and balsamic vinaigrette is a must.

5. THE BOTTOM LINE: Whether you’re a painting novice, an artist in want of an inspirational space or just a person looking for a hangout, this place is a win-win-win in a creative community. “We literally found our artists just walking by in the neighborhood,” says John. “And they ended up being phenomenal.”