Smooth operators open Rough Draft Taproom
Opening along Wells Street on May 3
The slogan, “When you’re here, you’re family,” might already be taken, but it could just as well fit for the new establishment opening on Wells Street, Rough Draft Taproom.
The spot opening May 3 at 1833 N. Wells St. is the brainchild of husband and wife Kyle and Kaylie Snodgrass. Before you even step inside the taproom, there’s a chance you’ve already seen their work.
Kyle’s been painting memorial portraits of pets, as well as murals, including the recent additions at ACME by Full Circle. Kaylie’s craft has been just as noticeable. On top of photography, the graphic designer has created some of the best designs you’ve seen on beer cans through Rough Draft Co. working with Auburn Brewing Co., 2Toms Brewing Co., Two-EE’s Winery, and more. She’s also supplied the graphics for the Middle Waves Music Festival and the upcoming Three Rivers Festival.
It was through those connections that Rough Draft Taproom came to fruition.
“We always knew that if she ever wanted to expand (Rough Draft Co.), we wanted to have a bar along with it,” Kyle said.
Along with 24 taps, two designated for coffee, Rough Draft Taproom has pizza from Legalize Marinara, baked goods from Shop Two Sixty, vintage clothing from Late Bloomer, and just an overall chill vibe.
“All of our clients, I feel that they are friends at this point,” Kyle said as he put finishing touches on the taproom while Kaylie worked from home while watching their infant child. “We kind of wanted to pay if forward. We’re lucky enough to do this and I kind of want to highlight everybody in this industry. I’ve never been in an industry that is so inclusive.”
Of the 24 taps, 11 breweries and cideries will be represented when the taproom opens for business, including Auburn Brewing, Bad Dad, 2Toms, Kekionga, Hop River, HopLore, Junk Ditch, and a couple of hidden treasures like Science Project and The Parlor City.
“There’s so many people here in town and around town that aren’t represented, like Science Project or Parlor City, or even Auburn (Brewing Co.),” Kyle said.
“Really, the whole idea behind it is, I want you to come and enjoy a beverage, but I really want you to learn where the source is,” he added. “If you’re excited about a beer here, I want to point you in the direction of where that brewery is and now you’ve discovered a whole new place you love.”
Hempton Roast Coffee is another hidden gem you can find, and its the only place that has the cold brew on tap.
Along with the drinks, the pizza will also blow you away. Owned by ACME by Full Circle, Legalize Mariana’s variety ranges from four-cheese and Margherita to Bahn Mi and Totally Taco. Oh yeah, you can also choose Cheesy Bacon & Hash Pizza, Loaded Omelette Pizza, and Sausage-N-Gravy Pizza from the all-day breakfast menu.
Opening day will feature the music of Anthony Giraldi from 7-8 p.m., so you’re gonna want to arrive early. And if you miss the grand opening, swing by at your convenience as they’ll be open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday every week.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” Kyle said. “It still feels like I’m just working at someone else’s place.”
Clear skies ahead for Bravas
It seems like all of us have been eagerly watching Bravas reinvent itself.
Can you blame us for being a little (or a lot) excited when owner and operator Bo Gonzalez started to tease us with his plans to move from a food truck serving up unique and tasty burgers and hot dogs to a space at 1634 Fairfield Ave.
That space is now called Bravas Rincon and it burst on the scene with limited hours. Gonzalez calls it “Pilot Mode.” They are trying to focus on doing it right, with hours running from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
Gonzalez told me he expected a warm response from the community. It went way beyond that. There have been a steady stream of customers from the start.
“I’m thrilled with our staff,” Gonzalez said when he had a quick moment. “It is the best crew I’ve ever had.”
From my seat, I had a great view of the kitchen area and the masterpieces Gonzalez and his crew were building like happy little elves. No issues. No dysfunction. Just a fun attitude in a fast-paced exchange of plates.
When I got the menu, I had one goal: Be daring, try something new. It wasn’t easy. There were many options.
I waffled between the Spanish-Moorish dish Pintxo Moruno, a grilled marinated chicken skewer in lemon yogurt sauce, and the Brandade, a cod dip served with crostini, a baguette-type bread.
However, in the end, the intriguing PB Burger was too much to ignore. I’m not going to lie: They had me at peanut butter. Then my mind wondered, “Jalapeño slices and peanut butter on a burger. How does that work?”
The peppers were there but in a subtle way. The thick bacon was hard to miss. And the peanut butter had a texture that had me circling the plate for leftover morsels.
As if I needed another selling point, it had bacon. Well, it’s bacon. Is there any other reason needed?
I like the mash-up of typically American dishes with Spanish and Mediterranean fare all with links to Gonzalez’s still strong family ties to Spain. It’s easy to relax and with a television, authentic Spanish wine or beer, it’s a place you could spend a lot of time visiting.
Anthony Gadson contributed to this article.
Off the Eaten Path is the Whatzup weekly column that covers Northeast Indiana’s restaurant and food news. Send your news items to firstname.lastname@example.org.