EDGEWATER — A stalled development on Devon Avenue is not only moving forward as a taproom, it's bringing one of the hottest food trends to Edgewater, too.
The owners of Aquanaut Brewery and Budlong Chicken have announced plans for a joint venture at Devon and Magnolia avenues, aiming to open by year's end.
Bowmanville's Aquanaut Brewing Company, co-owned by entrepreneur Phil Tadros of Bow Truss Coffee Roasters, is steering the ship on the beer front, with plans for a taproom.
On the food side, Jared Leonard, restaurateur and chef behind West Ridge's Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse, will expand his new "Nashville hot" Budlong Chicken concept to the restaurant space adjacent to Aquanaut's proposed taproom.
Nashville hot — fried chicken with an added layer of blistering spice blend — is a southern specialty that's fast gaining popularity north of the Mason-Dixon line. Leonard is also resurrecting a piece of American culinary history, the Spudnut, a near-extinct doughnut made with potato flour.
Tadros and Leonard are also partners in the just-opened Lakeview Budlong location.
"Phil runs even faster than I do. We signed [Budlong] two weeks ago, and in the middle of that he calls and says he's got this developer on Devon," Leonard said.
Though Leonard and Tadros are planning the Edgewater concept together, the businesses will function independently, with different hours and separate licenses, according to Leonard.
An opening between the two operations would allow patrons to flow from the brewery to the restaurant and vice versa. Customers get to enjoy the best of both worlds — food and drink — while the businesses get to stick to their core area of expertise.
"It allows us to focus on beer," Tadros said of the arrangement.
The Edgewater taproom won't replace Aquanaut's existing brewery, 5435 N. Wolcott Ave., but will add capacity and increase Aquanaut's visibility, Tadros said.
"It's a neighborhood brewery. Families can feel comfortable," he said.
The future of the site has been uncertain ever since husband-and-wife team Alex Drayer and Brittany Groot's idea for D & G Brewing at the 1221 W. Devon Ave. spot fell through late last year.
Last summer, Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), Ald. Joe Moore (49th) and Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th) united to hold community meetings before supporting the project and ultimately helping to get a 20-year-liquor moratorium on the street temporarily lifted.
From the time it was approved, the clock began ticking — as city code requires a moratorium be lifted for a full year before reverting back.
Now with Budlong and Aquanaut, developer Scott Whelan's original plan of filling the pub's adjacent restaurant is coming to fruition.
"What I like about the location, first and foremost, is the landlord," said Tadros. "It's a nice corner with a great outdoor patio."
Details are still being ironed out but if all goes well, the brewpub could be up and running within six months, Tadros said.
Jared Leonard, who owns Rub's Backcountry Smokehouse, hopes to resurrect farmers favorites, such as buttermilk biscuits, fried chicken and pickled vegetables. [Provided/Jared Leonard]
The corner of Devon and Magnolia Avenues, where Aquanaut Brewing Company and Budlong Pickle & Chicken Diner will set up shop. [DNAinfo/Linze Rice]
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