The lights may soon go back on in the downtown Brookfield building that once was home to Salt Creek Wine Bar. On Feb. 14 the Brookfield Village Board is expected to grant a liquor license to a man who wants to bring the Brookfield Ale House to 8900 Fairview Ave.
Steve Landrey, the driving force behind the new business venture, has already signed a lease and has been cleaning and clearing-out the space, which served as a wine bar for a decade before it closed in September 2015.
The 59-year-old Landrey left a 15-year career in the world of event coordination to take on a brand new challenge in running a restaurant/bar — and planning an ale house empire of his own.
“The goal down the road is to have more Brookfield Ale Houses,” said Landrey, who added he hopes to have the new place open by the beginning of April.
“I’d like to build on the Salt Creek Wine Bar’s niche of fine wines, craft beers and live music,” Landrey said.
Landrey, a Summit native who now lives in Lemont, said he initially had eyed the former Helping Hand Thrift Store space farther north on Grand Boulevard as the home for Brookfield Ale House. However, the owner of that property, John Scaletta, suggested the shuttered wine bar and introduced him to the building’s owner.
In the end, Landrey felt the corner location with such high visibility from the railroad was just what he was looking for.
Landrey said he’s using other successful ale house chains, such as California-based B.J.’s Brewhouse and Florida-based Miller’s Ale House, as models for his inaugural venture.
One of the things those places have is a diverse menu that typically features a “signature” dish.
“All of those places are famous for something,” Landrey said. “I want to have a menu that’s famous for something.”
Before he can do that over on Fairview Avenue, however, Landrey will have to install a full kitchen — that’s lacking right now. He’s hoping that by rearranging some of the equipment and utilizing the basement, the kitchen will be able to handle the needs of a proper restaurant.
“We’re still developing the menu,” Landrey said.
In the meantime, Landrey is working to get the place cleaned up in preparation for designing a kitchen, bar and restaurant and getting those plans to an architect.
He says he’s put together a management and operations team to help him get the concept off the ground in Brookfield.
“Once we develop this formula, we want to expand it to other places,” Landrey said.