The owners of the Hair of the Dog Pub hope their plans for a new Southside brew pub will breathe new life into a crumbling 100-year-old building in downtown Chattanooga’s Southside neighborhood.
The renovation project has been a work in progress since Joe Sliger of Eastman Construction Co. bought the building at the corner of Market and 14th streets two years ago.
In April, Eastman Construction started on the final phase of work to turn the three-story Stong Building — the empty, wedge-shaped building next door to the Chattanooga Choo-Choo — into The Terminal BrewHouse.
The new brew house will be a classic-style brew pub and will have a full restaurant, according to owners Geoffrey Tarr, Ryan Chilcoat and Matt Lewis, who will own the business as the Motley Brew LLC.
Staff Photo by Tim Barber-- Zach King, owner of Appalachian Design and Build, works to anchor the brick walls to new indoor steel reinforcements in the early stages of remodeling a three-story building next to the Chattanooga Choo-Choo.
“The common thread is that we all love beer,” Mr. Tarr said. “We’d like to make some great local beer and we think there is plenty of room for another brew house in town.”
Renovations on the new restaurant and bar should be completed in the next six to eight months, Mr. Tarr said. When done, he said, the group’s investment including construction costs will total about $1 million. Part of that cost came from the brewing equipment, which cost about $160,000.
The Terminal will brew beer in small, individually made batches, also known as craft beer. Because the beer will be brewed in-house in small batches, the brewers will have the opportunity to be creative with flavors and ingredients, Mr. Tarr said.
“Chattanooga is ripe for a craft brewery,” said Mr. Lewis, who will handle the restaurant’s operations.
The large, stainless steel brewing system will be housed in the basement. The owners had the construction company cut 20- by 30-foot openings on the first, second and third floors so patrons can see the equipment below. The company is working on an addition to the back of the building which will house the kitchen and restrooms. A deck will be built on to the top of the addition.
The owners plan for the restaurant to seat 175 people, including the space on the deck. The small dirt and gravel parking lot will be made into a lot with 25-spaces.
Mr. Tarr, along with Mr. Lewis and Bert Ingram, own the Hair of the Dog, which will remain open. Mr. Tarr said the group also wants to maintain a local focus throughout their new restaurant.
“Our focus is local, we want to be Chattanooga-focused with our food, with our brewing ingredients,” Mr. Tarr said. “We are going to be a local restaurant, kind of like Hair of the Dog, we’re not looking to be a chain, we just want to keep our local flavor.”
The restaurant will have locally grown produce and meats, as much as Mr. Tarr and his partners can manage, he said.
The new restaurant and bar will have a casual, American-style menu and incorporate the beers brewed in-house in some of the recipes, like those for some soups or a steak-and-stout pie, Mr. Lewis said. The owners have been working on the menu for quite and while, and plan to offer beer-and-food pairings, similar to the way people enjoy wine, he said.
“One thing that we will feature a beer and cheese plate,” Mr. Lewis said. “We feel like beer pairs as good or better with some cheeses than wine does.”
The name of the new brewery and restaurant — The Terminal BrewHouse — comes from the rich history of the building, which in the 1930s and 1940s was known as the Terminal Hotel and tavern. The building had been owned by relatives of Chester Davis, who purchased the Stong Building in the early 1900s, Mr. Tarr said. Mr. Davis used money he earned as a porter working at the Terminal Station, now the Choo-Choo. The hotel closed in the 1930s.
In 2006, Mr. Sliger paid $171,000 for the 6,000-square-foot building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been on the Tennessee Preservation Trust’s Top 10 list of endangered buildings.
Before he bought the building, it had sat empty and unattended for more than 20 years and was slated for demolition, Mr. Sliger said. The roof had leaked to the point where the entire roof structure had rotted, causing the ceilings on each floor to collapse onto the basement.
“The building is not holding anything up,” he said. “We have built something to hold the bricks up, including the roof. The bricks could go away and the building would still be there.”