Raleigh, N.C. — With patio weather here, one of downtown Raleigh's best warm weather spots is finally reopen.
After being closed for more than a year, Boylan Bridge Brewpub reopened its doors on Monday. Owner Andrew Leager said the restaurant got its final approval on Friday from Wake County Health inspectors.
"I was a little nervous. I've been nervous for a long time. Big build up here, but we're back," Leager said Monday. "A successful restaurant is built around a story, not just the food and the beer and the place. We've got a killer story."
In February 2016, water pressure from a leaky sprinkler caused a wall to collapse at the restaurant and bar. After the collapse, Leager said he told the staff that they'd be reopen in two weeks. After a few more days to assess the damage, Leager knew things weren't going to be that easy to fix.
"We've been busy the last 15 months, spending a lot of time reviewing our best practices to see if we can tighten up our menu and kitchen operations," Leager said. "This is too valuable of a place. We had to bring it back. I had an obligation to bring it back."
Customer David Simons said Monday that when he saw the mess created by the wall collapse, he knew it would "be a while" before he could enjoy the Brewpub again.
"I called this morning. Andrew answered the phone and I asked, 'Is it really today?' He said yes, and I said, 'I'll be there,'" Simons said. "It's unique. There are other breweries and things like that, but there's something unique about this because of the locale."
Leager admits that the iconic Boylan Bridge view is another reason he felt an obligation to repair and reopen.
"The view has always been what drives us forward," he said. "It’s not available anywhere else in Raleigh."
Repairs to Boylan structure were extensive
Crews have worked for more than a year putting in a new sprinkler system, replacing a wall and repairing a caved in roof and other damage.
Leager, a cabinet maker, has a special projects and workstation underneath the restaurant. That space is where the wall collapsed and destroyed thousands of dollars worth of equipment.
"It's easy to get discouraged when the money keeps going out and there's no revenue coming in, but we kept with it," Leager said.
The workspace is where Leager is planning to house two other businesses - Hargett Hill Distillery and Boylan Barrelworks.
Leager said the distillery was a business decision to help put to use the brewery operations without having to expand the mount of beer being brewed.
"This was a business decision to utilize the brewery without competing with all of the other 29 breweries for kegs, fighting for space on grocery store shelves," Leager said.
With seven more years on his lease, Leager will have time to grow the distillery and barrel company.