Earlier this month when Chapada Chophouse & Churrascaria closed, Have You Heard? reported that Oklahoma City’s Bricktown Brewery was a possibility for the space.
Buck Warfield, president of Bricktown Brewery Group, confirms the brewery will open at 21st and Tyler.
“I’ve long loved that building,” he says. “We just basically cold-called them, and we were able to strike a deal.”
Warfield used to be in and out of Wichita for years in connection with Old Chicago. He’d tried to bring the chain’s sister restaurant and brewery, Rock Bottom, here several years ago but never found the right space.
“I happen to like Wichita a lot,” Warfield says. “I don’t go anywhere I don’t like.”
He says Bricktown Brewery was the second restaurant to open in the emerging Bricktown area of Oklahoma City in 1992. He says it and Spaghetti Warehouse served as anchors for the entertainment and dining area.
“Prior to that there was really not much going on there.”
Warfield says the original owners of Bricktown Brewery were instrumental in getting Oklahoma law changed for on-premise brewed beer.
However, he says when his partners bought into the business seven years ago, “It was in pretty bad shape and on the verge of going under.”
Four years ago, Warfield joined in an equity position.
He says the Wichita Bricktown Brewery will make No. 6. In addition to serving Bricktown Brewery beer, Warfield says he’ll serve local craft beers as well.
“It’s a very heavy emphasis on truly local beer,” he says. “It’s just a better product. That’s not a shot at the bigger brewers.”
Warfield says hiring a brew master is similar to hiring a good chef.
“They’re people who have great passion for what they do.”
He says brewers are “sort of redefining what beer’s about on a continual basis.”
“There’s a ton of people making good and interesting beers.”
Warfield says Bricktown Brewery’s food – what he calls “better burgers,” artisanal pizza, salads and some entrees – will be just as good as the beer.
“We’re not a very high-end place, but we really try to serve good quality stuff.”
To Warfield, there are five food groups: Beer, bacon, bourbon, burgers and pizza.
Add “an occasional bag of M&Ms, and you’ll be fine,” he says. “You could live a long and wonderful life on that diet.”
Bricktown Brewery will be open seven days a week and seat 150. Warfield says the average check is $25. He says the category the restaurant is in is similar to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse and Granite City.
Warfield says he and his partners have no aspirations to make the restaurant a chain, but they do hope to keep opening three or four a year in areas surrounding Oklahoma. They’re interested in college towns such as Manhattan and Lawrence.
Another Bricktown Brewery or two are possible for Wichita as well.
“I believe we can get one or two more sites in Wichita,” Warfield says.
“I know the market embraces the idea of beer, pizza and burgers,” he says. “It’s not an over-served market in my opinion.”
Demolition work will start in the middle of November on the west-side Bricktown Brewery, which Warfield expects will open around February.
If another good location pops up before then, he says he’s open to doing something immediately.
“We would be very aggressive in pursuing it.”