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Brew pub design plays off city’s religious imagery

Microbrewery/restaurant now under construction

Aug. 28, 2008

A cheerful Franciscan monk holds a dark glass of beer in the logo for the soon-to-be St. Francis Brewery and Restaurant.

“There’s a beer and abbey theme in our logo,” owner Rick Schmidt said. “It’s somewhat whimsical, but not.”

Schmidt has owned 16 restaurants, including the Water Street Brewery in Milwaukee, during his 32 years in the business. Now, he has broken ground on a 7,500-square-foot combined brewery and pub near the intersection of Kinnickinnic and Howard avenues in St. Francis.

From a design perspective, the building is meant to tie in with St. Francis Seminary and Lake Michigan, Schmidt said.

“We want to be a landmark in St. Francis,” he said.

The pub, expected to open by February 2009, will offer six to eight homemade brews, a patio, a banquet facility, plasma-screen televisions and, possibly, live entertainment. Brewery tours will be offered.

In addition, St. Francis Brewery and Restaurant will sell sodas and homemade root beer and feature an American-style menu with daily specials, brew pub specialty items and a Friday night fish fry.

“Our goal is make it a neighborhood place,” Schmidt said.

He hopes to eventually use an abandoned warehouse building adjacent to the brewery site to create a retail development called Lakeside Village Square. In the meantime, he is concentrating on making the brew pub a success.

It has the potential to attract a wide array of customers to St. Francis, he said.

Mayor Al Richards said this is the first time the city of St. Francis has had a brew pub, and that the development will be an asset to the community. Because the pub lies near Interstate 794, it will easy for drivers to access and it could increase traffic toward South Lake Drive.

He said if the pub is successful, it could potentially fuel development in an area that already is seeing some growth. A bank likely will be constructed across the street from the brew pub, on the southwest corner.

Specific plans for the bank are unknown at this time, Richards said.

Schmidt said he hopes the pub will be a draw for other entrepreneurs.

“Hopefully, this will spur development on the four corners around here,” he said. “We want to bring people to the area.”

Chantel Balzell can be reached at (262) 446-6602.

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