Talking Head - Brick Store Pub: Manifest destiny
Leon's Full Service slated to open in November
Dave Blanchard of the Brick Store is excited about acquiring a lease on the 1930s Spanish Revival-style former gas station. "We have had our eye on that building forever and always wanted to do something there, and it just happened that it became available." With plans for a second location of the Brick Store in Grant Park stalled as a result of zoning issues, and a chef and a manager already on board, the new location was an irresistible alternative.
Leon's Full Service will feature 14 beers on tap and another 100 or so in bottles. Like the Brick Store Pub, Leon's will feature the best beers from the United States, Belgium and around the world, albeit with an emphasis on small breweries. Chef Eric Ottensmeyer, who was hired more than a year ago to work at the Grant Park location, will be in the kitchen at Leon's. He has been honing his chops producing beer dinners for the Brick Store and should bring a new level of sophistication to the pairing of beer and food. Leon's is slated for a November opening with 25 tables and a generous bar area. "Sure, we are taking the food up a notch," Blanchard says, "but we want something casual and cool. We are nowhere near white tablecloth." Rick Blanchard's Watershed Development, which did the design for the Brick Store, will be doing the build-out.
Meanwhile, the original Brick Store has initiated a cellaring program using a former bank vault underneath an adjacent building. Blanchard and his partners Mike Gallagher and Tom Moore were inspired to begin the program during a trip to Belgium a couple years ago, where they found a number of beer bars that specialized in aged, vintage beers. Over the last year and a half, they have been purchasing cases of Westmalle, d'Achouffe, Fullers, J.W. Lees, Allagash, Dogfish Head and others to stock the cellar. Future plans include a tasting room inside the vault for special occasions and periodic vertical tastings. They're currently developing a plan for releasing the beers, taking into account the optimal amount of aging for different varieties. "The trick for us," Gallagher says, "is not to sell it all at once."
To celebrate the release of its new line of Coney Island Craft Lagers, Shmaltz Brewing Company is sponsoring a five-course beer dinner at Muss & Turner's in Smyrna on Monday, Aug. 18. The dinner will feature Coney Island Lager and Albino Python Lager, along with Origin, Rejewvenator and Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from their He'Brew line. The menu includes lobster roll, Merguez sausage, figs wrapped in duck ham, and a dessert of "Cinnabon Mussy style," The cost is $49 not including tax and gratuity. Call 770-434-1114 or send an e-mail to email@example.com for reservations.