Riverside Market Team Plans To Build A Florida Cracker-Style House With Its Own Kitchen And Pink Lawn Flamingos, Right Inside New River Brewing
The team behind the soon-to-open New River Brewing gave us a first-ever tour of the downtown Fort Lauderdale space this week, and the idea they have behind the build-out is undoubtedly like nothing you’ve seen.
Underneath a century-old warehouse, the team of brewers and craft beer aficionados will build an entire homestead—with a lawn, barn and house—which will serve as a restaurant and taproom.
Julian and Lisa Siegel, owners of Riverside Market, have teamed up with Adam and Jill Fine, of The Native Brewing Company, to open the new brewery just west of the Publix in downtown Fort Lauderdale. They’re also getting logistical help from The Restaurant People, owners of YOLO and S3 Restaurant, among others.
On Wednesday, Adam Fine and the Siegels led us on a walk-through of the warehouse where they will open New River Brewing—just west of the railroad tracks on Southwest Sixth Street, across from The Grind Coffee Project.
It’s a building that dates back to the 1920s, owned originally by Frank Snyder, namesake of Snyder Park. Back then, the building was used as a barn for horse-drawn carts that laid the original asphalt on Fort Lauderdale streets. Most recently it housed Neptune Boat Lift, until the company outgrew the space.
With its two-story vaulted ceilings, it was impractical to imagine putting the entire space under air, which would have hidden the historic hardwood frame, the team said. The partners spent months dreaming up how to make their brewery work—until they came up with an entirely novel idea.
"It just occurred to us one day, 'What if we put buildings inside the building, like a movie set?' And it was like, 'yeah, we can do this,'" Fine said.
The plan is to construct a 1,000-square-foot Florida Cracker-style house inside of the building, which would be right in front of guests as they enter through the brewery's large glass doors.
Surrounding it will be a fake lawn, right down to the pink flamingos, said Lisa Siegel. Inside, the home will have a tap room, restaurant and commercial kitchen.
Walk around the back side of the house and there will be a barn about the size of the farmhouse. It’ll be used to barrel age the beers and also to host events. Out in the back of the faux homestead will be the brew tanks, shiny copper equipment purchased from the old Brewzzi in West Palm Beach.
The plans have already gone through one round of reviews with the city, and the New River Brewing folks are now making changes suggested by Fort Lauderdale planners. The brewers have also narrowed down a list of builders to two, meaning they’re not far from beginning construction on their Florida-Cracker-inspired master plan.
Meanwhile, work has already begun on the beers. Fine has been testing recipes at the Craft Beer Cartel, a homebrew and beer shop that he also opened with the Siegels.
And in the back office of the new building, Fine has gallon jugs full of yeast starter that’ll be used to ferment the new beers. They’re already bubbling away, filling the old marine office with the sweet pungent smell of brewer’s yeast.
Fine said they’re still narrowing down the prospective beers. They’re planning to offer eight at first, likely including an IPA, scotch ale, coffee stout, watermelon wit, Belgian cherry chocolate, an imperial brown, double deuce brown ale, and a saison they’re calling South Fork.
“We’re not going to try to capture the saison market or the sour market,” Julian Siegel said. “We’re going to brew every kind of beer and do a little bit of everything.”
Right now, the space is being used for storage—the copper tanks in the back, ready for a polish. The partners expect the build-out to take four to six months, meaning they hope to open New River Brewing later this year. The brewery will be constructed first, so it’s already pumping out beer when the house, barn and lawn are added.
And then, when it's all said and done, a historic-looking homestead tap room will open for business, under the roof of an old warehouse.
New River Brewing; 280 SW Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale