Hardywood is getting into the restaurant business.
Chef Joe Sparatta, who co-owns Southbound and Heritage, will open a Hardywood-branded eatery inside the brewery’s 60,000-square-foot Goochland facility at 820 Sanctuary Trail Drive.
Hardywood co-founders Eric McKay and Patrick Murtaugh, and Sparatta, said they got to know each other through the years, particularly through “For Every Saison,” a beer dinner fundraiser the brewery puts on annually with The Maymont Foundation.
They started talking about six months ago, and McKay said they’d considered a possible restaurant component while designing the West Creek facility, which opened about a year ago.
“Early on we thought we would’ve loved to have a restaurant but didn’t think we wanted to divide our attention,” Murtaugh said. “The conversation always turned towards, if we can find a great partner, in a city with such talent, then only at that point would having a restaurant be a possibility.”
Sparatta said he and business partner Lee Gregory have turned down opportunities for additional spots around town since opening Southbound in 2014.
“When this came up with (Hardywood’s) already-existing incredible infrastructure, to me personally it made a lot of sense,” Sparatta said.
The restaurant will be a fast-casual concept, with the menu to be decided.
“Hopefully people will be able to grab the food, go find a place to eat outside and find a way to disconnect a little bit,” Sparatta said. “You’re not going to see plated dishes like you do at Heritage or Southbound. It’s something that’s different.”
Hardywood West Creek has been hosting food trucks at the brewery since opening, and McKay said they’ll continue doing so but to a lesser extent after the restaurant opens.
McKay said the property’s zoning allows for a restaurant, which will be the first in West Creek, and that they’re preparing to submit plans to Goochland County. They’re targeting an early 2020 opening.
Hardywood also has been cooking up two offshoot beverage brands in recent months.