Elk Brewing to brew up beers, ciders, meads in former restaurant on Grand Rapids’ Wealthy Street

Eric and Lisa Karns have big plans to bring a small brewpub to life on Grand Rapids’ Southeast side, and they got the go-ahead from the Grand Rapids Planning Commission on Sept. 22 to pursue state approval for the liquor license.

Elk Brewing will transform the former Southern Fish Fry building on the corner of Wealthy St. SE and Henry St. SE into an 80-seat microbrewery/pub with an 80-seat outdoor patio along Henry St. The brewpub will be allowed to sell its wares onsite only. Eric Karns, a veteran homebrewer, will head up the brewing team and has plans to offer patrons site-made specialties beyond beer.

“We’ll start out brewing ciders, meads and beers,” Eric Karns says. “We want to have seven to eight beers on tap. Brewing beer is the only thing I’ve really loved doing. We’ll be getting a 100-gallon brewing system and will do construction over the winter, with an opening sometime next year.”

The pub will also offer a selection of wines, but will not sell hard liquor.

Planning Commission also approved a 40-square-foot addition to the Wealthy St. side of the building, which will incorporate a glass façade. The Grand Rapids Historic Preservation Commission approved conceptual plans on March 17, 2010.

The Karns have worked out preliminary agreements with nearby restaurants including The Winchester, Johnny B’z Dogs and More and Wealthy Street Bakery to provide their menus and a delivery service for patrons of Elk Brewing, says Karns.

Design: Lott3Metz Architecture

Source: Eric Karns, Elk Brewing; Greg Metz, Lott3Metz Architecture
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
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