ELMHURST – A microbrewery is finally coming to Elmhurst, as two residents plan to open the city's first this fall.
Pete Dolan and Frazer Donaldson, both eight-year residents of the community, say they are the demographic they are trying to attract at Elmhurst Brewing Co., currently under construction at 171 N. Addison Ave.
"We are Elmhurst residents and we both have three kids under 11," Donaldson said. "We are the kind of people we want coming here."
The two said EBC will be geared for families with an enclosed, 2,600-square-foot outdoor patio and a kids play area inside. The patio will feature lots of community seating, they said.
"A lot of families can connect with what we are doing," Donaldson said, standing outside the two-story brick building being rehabbed. "They sit at a table in a restaurant and the kids are anxious and bored in 10 minutes. We will have a bin of toys they can go play with and the adults can carry on a conversation ... I see a lot of screens pulled out in restaurants to keep kids occupied. Here, they can play with a trunk full of toys."
Dolan said families can watch a game while at the establishment but it will not be a major theme at Elmhurst Brewing Co.
"We will have a sports focus, but we are not a sports bar," Dolan said. "You will be able to watch the Cubs or Blackhawks game, but the TVs are not going to be on 24/7."
Dolan said the family-focused facility will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The business partners said patrons can expect more than mozzarella sticks when they come in for something to eat. They plan to offer flat breads, salmon, salads, fish sandwiches and other fare.
"We are not serving bar food," Donaldson said.
The microbrewery's bread and butter, however, will be its craft beers, spirits and wines. Thirteen different craft beers will be available on a daily basis, with one of those exclusively for “Mug Club” members.
Dolan said the American palette has continued to evolve and craft beers are continuing to grow in popularity. He said many craft beer drinkers now know the names of various kinds of hops, such as Galaxy, and what they do to a beer's taste.
"There have been 160 types of craft-beer styles identified. Americans have not been introduced to anywhere near 160 types of beers," Dolan said. "We intend to deliver those styles to the patrons of Elmhurst Brewing Co. 13 at a time."
If Oak Park can support four microbreweries, Elmhurst – a town nearly as big – can certainly support one, Dolan said. Being just two blocks from the Metra train line, the two are looking to entice those Oak Park beer aficionados and others along the Union Pacific/West Line to pay them a visit.
The two, who both said they are "100 percent in" on the project, vow that at least one of them will always be present on site.
"We think it is important that people know we are committed," Dolan said. "Patrons can expect to have a relationship with us."
Donaldson said the facility will be able to seat up to 300 patrons. A September grand opening is hoped for, but the businessmen are not making any promises, saying they will ensure everything is done right and ready to go before opening.
Donaldson noted that they have tried to keep the brewery as Elmhurst-focused as possible. The bank used for financing, the real estate agent and many of the individuals involved in the construction project are all Elmhurst-based, they noted.
"We have a lot of resident investors,” Donaldson said. "We have kept it to Elmhurst residents only."
Donaldson and Dolan said individuals can get updates on the microbrewery's progress on Facebook, Twitter (@ElmhurstBrewing), LinkedIn and via email by signing up at ElmhurstBrewing.com.