Jim Cozzens, co-owner of Oak Park Brewing, 155 S. Oak Park Ave., announced the restaurant will reopen on Thursday, April 1. It will be the first day Oak Park Brewing will open since the establishment entered temporary, but indefinite hibernation last December in an effort to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We finally got our PPP loan,” said Cozzens. “That made all the difference. We can use the loan to pay our staff and that made it possible to replenish our inventory.”
Beer is a perishable product and the four-month closure forced Cozzens to dispose of Oak Park Brewing’s supply of beer. The brewer-owner said it was brutal to part with the supply, but rest assured he has been working hard to replenish a restaurant’s worth of beer in anticipation of reopening.
Patrons should expect to find Oak Park Brewing’s best-loved beers available for consumption on April 1 and Cozzens is looking forward to bringing back all the summer favorites he was not able to brew last year.
In addition to offering freshly brewed beer and their tried-and-true menu favorites, Oak Park Brewing is introducing a new pizza menu. The brewery recently acquired a commercial grade double deck pizza oven and will offer thin crust pies and a signature deep-dish pizza. Oak Park Brewing’s pizza dough includes the “Helles Other People” lager they brew on-site.
“The beer crust makes our pizza unique,” said Cozzens. “It gives the finished pizza a beery, bready, more yeasty kind of flavor.”
The crust is naturally vegan-friendly and vegan cheese alternatives will be available when the brewery reopens. Cozzens said they are also working on perfecting a gluten-free crust he hopes to make available in the future.
Oak Park Brewing will be open for dine-in from Tuesday through Sunday 11:30 a.m. and closing at 10 p.m. The brewery will stay open as late as midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and can accommodate carry out orders. Cozzens hopes to add delivery services down the road.
“We are really, really, really excited to be back,” said Cozzens. “We hope to see everyone soon.”