Brickyard Pub roars back to life after fire and pandemic closure

Brickyard front-end manager Paul Beatty shows off an order of smoked chicken wings he's delivering to a customer at curbside pickup. The popular restaurant is still undergoing reconstruction after May's fire, but is open for curbside pickup. 

LEWISTON — Following a fire and a pandemic-forced closure, the Brickyard Pub is back in business. Unlike most restaurants, they had to close down entirely after a fire destroyed part of the 115-year-old building they’re in.

Steve Matthews, co-owner of the Brickyard Pub, said it was a hard time for them but they are more than happy to be back as a part of Lewiston’s restaurant scene. He said the community response to their return has been more than welcoming and many local businesses have been working to ensure they are able to get through such a trying time for many small businesses. Matthews said this has been a good weekend for them, so far.

The popular Center Street eatery began serving curbside take-out this past weekend.

“We actually did quite well on our initial weekend,” Matthews said. “We’re expecting to ramp up production, so our main focus is, obviously coming out of the gate with all of the COVID regulations, to follow and adapt our business model as needed. Going into the shutdown for us, which was right after the fire at the end of May, we obviously had to shut down operations completely. But coming out of, what we call, the start of the COVID pandemic, we were doing well with our curbside take-out.”

The May 27 fire centered in the Brickyard Brewing Co. building sidelined them quite a bit and they took sometime to corrective building before going forward with a reopening. Due to water damage suffered during the fire, they had to put in a new floor, but this wasn’t as easy as they previously thought. What Matthews found was two layers of floor underneath the one in the building.

He said doing repairs on the building were not as easy because they weren’t sure what to expect. Matthew likens it to peeling an onion, since it’s unknown how many layers there are to the building’s interior. Having gutted and worked on the building 15 years ago in 2004/05, Matthews knew what he was getting into. Repairs went quicker than expected with staff providing the necessary help to get this building back in shape.

“Pretty much from day one, they were there helping us work,” Matthews said. “Our primary goal was to keep them motivated and keep the morale up. They were more than happy to come in and help, which says a lot about our staff, in my opinion. I don’t know how many other places where the staff would show up to strip floors, paint, etc. To me it’s kind of unheard of.”

Matthews said he has been using social media more to get the word out they are open again. He’s gotten messages from people in Cheektowaga and Angola saying they will be making a trip to Lewiston to support Brickyard. Local businesses have provided them with donations or pitched in through some way to help keep Brickyard financially stable. The list of people has grown immensely through out this time.

Village Back Shop, across the street from Brickyard, sold cookies for them and all the money collected was divided equally amongst the staff and this has been quite overwhelming. Matthews is grateful for the support and Brickyard is coming out of the gates swinging. Even though most places are down with only 50 percent capacity, he has found that local restaurants are working hard to keep businesses going. This has been enough to reassure Matthews that things are going to be alright.

COMING MONDAY

• For a look at reconstruction efforts at the Brickyard Brewery Co., click on Monday's e-edition.

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