Owners of the Oak Park Brewing Company and Hamburger Mary's have announced the purchase of 155 S. Oak Park Ave. for their business and plan to open this winter.
The business originally planned to open at 1111-1113 South Blvd., but co-owner Ashley Wright said he and his partners were unable to secure financing for two-story building in the Pleasant District.
"In a nutshell, the building we were looking at was just a little too big," Wright said in a telephone interview.
He said development of the new building is expected to run approximately $2 million.
"All the walls have to come down, and we'll need new draining, new electrical, new plumbing — new everything; it's a big job," he said.
The group expects the 5,800-square-foot brew pub and hamburger joint to be open sometime in late 2014 or early 2015, Wright said, noting that development of the site is in the early stages and the group is still working on architectural renderings.
"We still have to go through permitting, and the bank has to sign off on everything, so it's a process," he said.
He said the new business will be similar in concept to the group's location in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, but the Oak Park shop will have a more prominent focus on the brewery.
Wright said the group chose Oak Park for a second location for a number of reasons, but noted that village's enthusiasm for the Micro Brew Review, an annual craft brew event in the village. Wright also said the village lacked a neighborhood brew pub.
"We like going to Oak Park; it's got a cool vibe to it," he said, adding that the village has a "progressive vibe" and "a very good beer culture."
Co-owner Brandon Wright, who also serves as head brewer at the Andersonville location, said the group expects to debut a new beer that will be local to the Oak Park shop at this year's Micro Brew Review in August.
Brandon Wright said that he and the brew masters have yet to settle on a recipe for the new beer but are toying with a Frank Lloyd Rye, in honor of the world famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and a Betty Wit, named after actress Betty White, who was born in the village.
He said the Oak Park shop will have rotating seasonal beers on tap and is likely to feature beers offered at the Andersonville brewery.
Ashley Wright said the burger shop and brewery are expected to be connected, so patrons can easily rotate between the two. Both will offer the same menu, he said.
He added that the menu "is going to be similar to our Andersonville location, but it's not going to be the same because we don't like to repeat ourselves."
The menu is likely to include popular items such as the Queen Mary and Buffy the Burger Slayer, Ashley Wright said.
The LGBT-friendly business also will offer some of the same evening events, such as drag shows and charity bingo, he said.
"Definitely the Mary's side will be more kitsch," Ashley Wright said.
He said the group worked closely with members of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation to locate the site.
"Sara Faust, over there, has been a great big help," he said.
Faust said in a press release that the building the group purchased has been on the market for "quite a while, and the investment that the ownership is making in this property will be substantial."
"The business' commitment to green practices, charitable efforts, family-friendly environment and involvement with the LGBTQ community remains the same," Faust said.
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