A resurrected Oak Park Brewing Co. will reopen around the end of May, ending months of speculation about what might replace its former form in the 89-year-old building at 3514 Broadway in Sacramento.
A new logo is already on display, walls next to the kitchen are being painted grey, and the food and beer will be different. But the name, location and Steampunk-esque metalwork around the bar and ceilings remain as an homage to the brewpub that closed last July, spokeswoman Becca Scott said.
“We want to bring this community hub back,” Scott said. “There’s a lot going on (in Oak Park) ... people are doing some really cool things, and we think that Oak Park Brewing Co. should be a part of that. It was here before and it was a big part of that as well.”
Chefs Russell Johnigan (formerly of Il Fornaio and Seasons 52) and Matt Seevers (Scott’s Seafood, Esquire Grill) are curating a menu of Southern-inspired pub food, Scott said, while her husband Geoff Scott will brew drinkable, low-ABV beers. He’s already finished a pale ale, a stout, a red ale, a hoppy blonde ale and the flagship West Coast-style OPB IPA.
Oak Park Brewing Co. beers will eventually flow from eight taps, with eight more for guest beers. The restaurant will sell cans over the bar but will not distribute in stores. Mixed drinks and wine will also be available, Becca Scott said, assuming the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control approves their full liquor license application.
Rumors of the brewery’s comeback swirled after Broderick Roadhouse founder Chris Jarosz, Mel’s Diner and The Cheese Steak Shop franchisee Dana Huie and attorney Gwen Scott — Geoff’s sister — applied for an ABC license under the name “Oak Park Brewing Company LLC” in February. They’re still waiting on that license, leaving the exact opening date somewhat up in the air.
As it turns out, there’s another partner familiar to Sacramento residents: Kevin Johnson. Huie and the Oak Park native, former Phoenix Suns All-Star and two-term Sacramento mayor established “Broderick Oak Park LLC” back in January, according to California Secretary of State documents. Johnson is a silent partner with a limited role, Becca Scott said.
Johnson’s first major public appearance since leaving office in December 2016 came two months ago, when he during a Q&A with Rev. Al Sharpton at the Guild Theater. He’s invested in several Oak Park businesses over the years, and founded the St. Hope nonprofit that runs Sacramento Charter High School, though St. Hope staff say he’s no longer actively involved.
The Scotts co-founded Track 7 Brewing Co. with Ryan and Jeanna Graham in 2011, only to split last year and file an ongoing lawsuit accusing Ryan Graham of sexual harassment and wrongful termination in February.
The most hands-on of any investor, Jarosz considered opening another Broderick in the vacant building before ultimately deciding to stick with Oak Park Brewing, Scott said. He has also owned or been a partner in Localis, The Patriot, Saddle Rock and Wicked ‘Wich food truck.
“This was not about creating something about myself but about creating something for the community,” Jarosz wrote in an email. “It should be named by the community. This is Oak Park’s brewery.”
Opened by project manager Tom Karvonen in 2014, the former Oak Park Brewing Co. was widely considered a catalyst in driving the neighborhood’s recent cultural reinvention. A Sacramento County health inspection in May 2018 found cockroaches, mice and weevil infestations, however, and the brewpub closed for good two months later.
The new owners want to occupy a similar place in Oak Park, Becca Scott said, which means investing outside of the brewery’s confines. The brewery will help College Cyclery run a program called Oak Park Urban Shred that will organize skateboard, BMX and mountain bike rides for local kids — and loan free bikes, boards and helmets to those who need them, with advance notice.
Work by local artists such as BAMR and Raphael Delgado will be on display inside the brewpub, including designs that will appear on some beer cans. BAMR recently finished a mural on the building’s south side exterior reading “IGYB,” short for the Sacramento restaurant industry mental health coalition I Got Your Back.
Manager James Loftis (formerly of Broderick Roadhouse and Paragary’s) will hire about 25 employees for the 3,700 square-foot brewpub, which includes an outdoor patio. Oak Park Brewing Co. will be open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.