Huntington eatery to replace Brewing Co.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Brewing Co. on Quarrier Street will no longer serve food, but instead will be replaced by Black Sheep Burrito & Brews, a popular Huntington-based restaurant.
The Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, which owns the space Charleston Brewing Co. occupies, approved a lease agreement to that effect at its meeting Wednesday morning.
The new Black Sheep restaurant will be the second location for the business, which was founded in Huntington in 2011 by owner Patrick Guthrie.
While Black Sheep will take over the restaurant portion of the Quarrier Street space, the brewery section of Charleston Brewing Co. will remain and will continue to produce beer.
Ann Saville, who owns the brewpub, said Black Sheep will take over the space Jan. 1, 2014. At that point, the brewpub will have no control over the restaurant, bar and kitchen, and will only operate the brewery.
"There's absolutely no fiscal connection," Saville said. "We just happen to be right next to each other."
Until then, the Charleston Brewing Co.'s restaurant will remain open, but may not have lunch service on some days.
After Black Sheep takes over, Saville said it will take some time to renovate the kitchen and restaurant area, but the bar could remain open during that time, if Guthrie chooses.
"He struck me as being extremely knowledgeable," she said of Guthrie.
Black Sheep serves a variety of specialty burritos, tacos and quesadillas. There are also sandwiches and a kids' menu.
"It looks good," she said of the Black Sheep menu. "I'm looking forward to his style of cooking."
As for the brewery, Saville said beer would continue to be produced. In fact, the brewery is in the process of having its beer shipped around West Virginia in kegs through a distributor.
"We'll certainly be making beer," she said. "It's doing very well. We haven't had a bad batch."
Saville, who was a homebrewer herself in the 1970s and 1980s, said the beer has been very popular in establishments in Charleston, and has also been in demand in other parts of the state -- namely Morgantown.
"In Morgantown, there's a bunch of people yelling for the Raj," she said.
"Raj," described as a West Coast-style IPA, is one of the brewery's most popular beers.
Saville, who is in her late 70s, said she has had a difficult time with the restaurant end of her business. In particular, she cited her age and commitments at Taylor Books, which she also owns.
"It's extremely tricky as I discovered, which is why I'm stepping out of it," she said. "I can't give it the 12 hours per day it needs. Beer's different. It just sits there doing its thing after you make it."
Saville said though she's experienced in making beer, she didn't have a whole lot of knowledge about running a restaurant. She said to run a brewpub, one needs skills in both areas, something not many people have.
"It looks good on paper to have a brewpub, but a lot of people are finding the same thing," she said.
Still, Saville said she is thankful for the "great supporters" of Charleston Brewing Co.'s beer, and hopes those who enjoy it will continue to do so, particularly since she anticipates the brewery being around for a long time.
"There's no fear of the brewery failing," she said.
Saville also said she is looking forward to welcoming Black Sheep to Charleston, and she thinks the food and music scene brought by the restaurant will be good for downtown.
"I'll be in there eating, believe me -- not worrying about who hasn't shown up or who has what covered," she said.