by April Lisante
Some deliciously good news arrived this week for locals addicted to the wood-fired pizzas and craft brews at the Chestnut Hill Brewing Company.
The eatery at the Market at the Fareway behind the storied Chestnut Hill Hotel is expanding in the coming months in a big way, opening an 1,800-square foot tap room featuring more fast-casual food options and much more beer.
The local family-friendly favorite, which opened two years ago to rave reviews and still earns a near-five star rating on Yelp and Trip Advisor, filled a niche for the Hill, offering gourmet pizzas and hand-crafted brews served al fresco during warm weather seasons.
Co-owners Lindsey Pete, 33, and Nick Gunderson, 37, the married duo behind the operation, started out small in January 2017, with a spot in the market and limited seating outside. After testing the waters, they decided to take the full plunge, beginning construction to redesign the spacious location of Green Soul healthy comfort food adjacent to their brew operation. Green Soul, which occupied the space for about five years at 8231 Germantown Ave., moved downtown.
“We’re very excited,” Pete said. “It’s new territory for us but we are looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to the customers’ feedback.”
Within minutes after Pete posted on Instagram to loyal local customers this week announcing the expansion, which read in part, “Some of you may be surprised … some of you may not be … we are excited to announce we are expanding and will open our tap room late spring/early summer…,” the frenzy erupted.
“Yay!!!! Good news for all of us who love you and can’t get enough of you…” said one fan.
“Hooray!!! Excellent news. Congrats. Can’t wait to follow the transformation!” another added.
The new Chestnut Hill Brewing Company Tap Room will expand on the market’s Chestnut Hill Brewing Company beer garden, offering fresh pasta dishes and generously portioned health salads (think similar to Sweet Green), as well as more craft beers and even signature cocktails that will change seasonally. With a large bar, cozy table seating and six giant 7-foot serving tanks filled with Gunderson’s brews, the couple hopes to retain and increase its local following. The space itself is charming, with exposed stone walls and a high ceiling. The bar will truly be a focal point, allowing patrons to view the tanks behind a mesh enclosure.
“Hopefully we will get close to the mark of what people are wanting,” said self-taught brewer Gunderson, who added he is “jacked” to have even more creative license – and space – to create his unique beers.
The eatery currently offers house-made beers served in flights, growlers or by the glass. The new tap room will increase production output from about two to five barrels at a time, or the equivalent of 10 kegs.
“There will be more production, it will be more efficient and more state of the art,” he said.
During the day, the bar will serve food, but at night, the tap room will offer families table service. They also hope to time the grand opening with the debut of an app that will allow customers to preorder fast-casual lunches and run in to get them from a mobile pickup area.
All of this is a giant step for the couple, who had no prior experience in the restaurant business before opening in 2017. Pete’s family owns the Chestnut Hill Hotel and the Market at the Fareway, and she has been an integral part in planning and marketing the venture.
“Now we want to take all we have learned over the time and improve upon it,” said Gunderson.
The last two years haven’t been without their share of conflict, however. Neighbors on Ardleigh Street and Hartwell Lane sued Glengarry Properties, which includes the market and hotel, back in May 2018, claiming the beer garden caused an outdoor noise disturbance, and that the seating had inched into the parking lot. The disagreement was settled this past October, with both sides making concessions that included maintaining specific evening business hours and delineating the parking lot seating.
Lawyer H. Fintan McHugh, who represented the neighbors, said this newest plan to expand to the Green Soul site did not seem to be problematic.
“If someone is moving to an existing spot inside the building, I can’t imagine there would be a problem,” McHugh said.
For now, business will continue as usual at the market side of the Brewing Company. Eventually, customers will be able to connect from the original grassroots market space to the new tap room. They hope that in the end, the project will enable locals who currently patronize the outside garden to sit and enjoy the brews all the time.
“We are hoping to make it a place to come all year round,” Gunderson said.
“We love our customers,” added Pete. “And we are grateful for the support of the community.”