363 E. Burlington St., Riverside

Riverside’s director of community development said construction for the build-out of a planned brewpub at a long-vacant building in the 300 block of East Burlington Street is “still probably a little ways away,” indicating that the business likely won’t open in mid-2017 as hoped.

However, Safehouse Brewing owner Matt Thomson told the Landmark last week that architectural plans have been filed and that they are undergoing review by the Community Development Department.

“We’re still wanting to open in summer – it’s nice to be outside drinking a nice cold beer,” Thomson said. “But that might be a little lofty of a goal.”

Thomson is seeking to build a small addition and enclose an exterior stairwell, said Riverside Community Development Director Sonya Abt, which will trigger review by the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

Abt said staff is hoping to get the matter placed on the Planning and Zoning Commission’s Feb. 22 agenda.

In January, the village of Riverside issued the first-ever Class P liquor license – specifically created for brewpubs — to Safehouse Brewing. The license allows the onsite manufacturing and storage of beer that can be sold to retail, restaurant and carryout customers and to distributors.

While it’ll be months before Safehouse opens for business, Thomson said that the local license was necessary to begin applying for federal and state liquor licenses. A federal license is required, said Thomson, because beer recipes have to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“We’re just excited things are progressing,” Thomson said. “We’re trying to keep patient.”

Once the village approves building permits, Thomson said he’d like to get started on the 15-barrel system brewery, which will be located in the east end of the building, which is located at 363-69 E. Burlington St. 

The restaurant will comprise the rest of the building’s ground floor, with room for about 150 patrons. Plans also call for an outdoor seating area along the south side of the building, facing the railroad tracks.

The brewpub will have a Prohibition era theme and the décor will incorporate lots of exposed brick, giving the space a somewhat industrial feel.

Plans also call for residential apartments to be built on the second floor of the building. Build out of the apartments won’t begin until later in the process, Thomson said.

The two-story brick mixed-use building at 363-69 E. Burlington St. was purchased in 2014 by Giuseppe Zappani, who also bought and restored the historic Arcade Building at 1 Riverside Road in downtown Riverside.

In September 2016, the Riverside Village Board voted to waive building permit and other fees totaling about $50,000 as an incentive for bringing Safehouse Brewing to the village.

The village action also waives health inspection fees, liquor license fees and live entertainment license fees for the first three years of the business’ operation. In passing the fee waivers, the village board gave Nov. 1, 2017 as the deadline for occupancy or else the village would seek reimbursement for the fees.