DeKALB - An Ottawa-based brewery and restaurant chain headed into downtown DeKalb is eyeing a December opening date, said Scott Struchen, chief commercial officer and co-founder of Tangled Roots Brewing Company.
The new brewery, dubbed Keg & Kernel by Tangled Roots Brewing Company, based in Ottawa, is set to open later this year. The owners will go before the DeKalb City Council Monday to seek a liquor license for the space, 106 E. Lincoln Highway, which hasn’t been in use since the former occupant, Tavern on Lincoln, closed for good during the COVID-19 pandemic. The business is on the first floor of Cornerstone DeKalb, owned by DeKalb-based Pappas Development, which has residential apartments on the top levels, and commercial space on the ground level.
Struchen said Friday the plans to open the space have been “a little bit delayed” due to procurement hiccups as the United States and the world struggles with global supply chain interruptions, brought on in part by the COVID-19 pandemic and labor needs. Signs for Keg & Kernel haven’t yet arrived, and other items needed to make the space its own have been pushed back about eight to 12 weeks, Struchen said.
No matter though, Struchen said. The show goes on.
“The state of the industry is kind of in flux, so we’re all in flux and we just need to have a positive outlook, do the best we can, and be there for the people,” Struchen said. “The restaurant’s beautiful as is, and so things will come in, and we’ll probably shut down in January for a week or two to get things switched out. The [supply issues] haven’t stopped us from procuring the brewery.”
The space was handed off in June to Tangled Roots from its former Tavern on Lincoln ownership, and the goal is to open the business for patrons sometime in December, with the brewery production portion in January 2022. If the signage and other Keg & Kernel items aren’t yet in, Struchen said he still wants the business to open so locals can get to know the new brewhouse.
The bar and liquor license permit is for hospitality, catering and live entertainment, according to city documents. If approved, the City would receive an initial issuance fee of $10,766 and then $377 for supplemental permits. To date, Tangled Roots has paid the City $788 in nonrefundable fees, which includes for the application process.
Tangled Roots is already fostering partnerships with DeKalb-based Whiskey Acres Distilling Co. and downtown neighbor Byers Brewing Company, he said. Beer options will incorporate a local flair with those partnerships in mind.
[ Ottawa-based brewing company to plant roots in DeKalb this fall ]
The popular brewhouse and eatery opened its flagship location in Ottawa in 2013 and touts “Farm to Foam” beers and embracing local ingredients as its signature style. The brewing company has locations in Lockport and Glenview, and will soon open in DeKalb and LaSalle, according to its website.
The brewing company makes up to 20 styles of beer at a time. The company also grows all its ingredients from a hop farm in Ottawa, where the barley also grows before being processed in Indiana and then brought back to the Prairie State. The local exception is for certain German-style beers, such as German Munich malt, which is imported.
Tangled Roots boasts beer such as the 4188, a pale ale which gets its name from the latitude and longitude of the hop farm in Ottawa and has flavor notes which “captures the essence of Illinois,” Struchen has said.
In the restaurant, Struchen has said popular items range from Illinois-grown beef burgers with beef from Slagel Family Farms, German-style pretzels inspired by Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s old-school concoctions, a charred cowboy cut ribeye and for the non-meat eaters, a cauliflower steak with pistachio pesto sauce served with red beets.
He said he looks forward to welcoming DeKalb patrons sooner rather than later.
“Us as people have learned to pivot during times of flux, and we have persevered as Americans, as business owners and in hospitality through this to try to make things happen,” Struchen said. “And we’re going to make it the best we can.”