Hamilton’s brings excitement to the Square
1. THE BACKSTORY: Josh Kregness grew up serving people from all walks of life. As the son of missionaries, Kregness learned to treat everyone with kindness. That service-oriented spirit has since led him to a successful career running local restaurants like the Library Café and Bar on campus and the Free House Pub in Middleton. Now he’s going solo as owner of Hamilton’s on the Square.
2. THE VIBE: The space is in a sandstone building from 1867 (formerly the Blue Marlin) that has been restored to feel both modern and cozy. The building itself is on the Register of Historic Places and housed a meat market from the late 1880s until 1941. Patio seating gives you a lovely view of the Capitol, which Kregness says never gets old.
3. THE FOOD: Hamilton’s is an American restaurant with approachable fine dining. Kregness says being on the Capitol Square means it’s paramount to be hyper-local. From lunch until late night, items like the duck French dip are conversation starters.
4. THE MUST-TRY: The menu changes often, but the lamb chops remain a favorite—they’re served medium rare and big on the bone with roasted turnips and a minted yogurt sauce. Go for the pub’s signature cocktail, the Peter Rabbit. It’s concocted with Pimm’s No. 1, local basil, fresh-squeezed lemon and cane syrup and presented with a pickled carrot and basil leaf.
5. THE BOTTOM LINE: Hamilton’s adds new excitement to a corner of the Square that could use more foot traffic. “I’ve been so blessed with all of our neighbors being very supportive,” says Kregness. “We’re just trying to pull people this way.”