BATH TOWNSHIP — The newest Beer Barrel Pizza & Grill has opened its doors. It’s located in Bath Township, right across from the Allen County Fairgrounds on Harding Highway.
This is the ninth Beer Barrel, and owner John Heaphy expects to open the 10th one in Fort Wayne, Indiana, before the end of the year.
“We actually started looking out on the east side of town probably eight years ago,” Heaphy said.
Heaphy purchased the old Tractor Supply Building four years ago and had it torn down so he could build here. The new location is at 2755 Harding Highway, Lima.
“The reason I’m so excited about being on the east side of Lima and here is that I grew up right at the end of Lost Creek Boulevard, right down the street here, and this is my childhood stomping grounds,” Heaphy said. “I had my first job ever at the fairgrounds.”
The restaurant employs 70 people.
“The No. 1 question I got from people: ‘Well, how are you going to staff that place? Nobody can staff anything.’ I’ve decided today the conversation’s not going to be that. The conversation will be celebrating the hundreds of people who work for us across Allen County in restaurants who show up every day and do a hell of a job and work hard and are dedicated and loyal — and we couldn’t do it without them,” Heaphy said.
Heaphy’s son, Tony, is vice president of Good Foods Restaurants, which includes the nine Beer Barrel Pizza & Grills, six Happy Daz Restaurants and one Old City Prime in downtown Lima.
“This is the fifth Beer Barrel that we’ve done in five years, and we have pretty much the same team that we have out in front of us here today,” Tony Heaphy said. “So we’ve gotten a really great system, and when you talk about people not knowing the complexity that goes into opening a place like this, it felt a lot more complex five years ago than it felt on this one. That’s because of the great, hard-working, passionate, dedicated folks that we have the privilege to come to work with every single day.”
Jed Metzger, president of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce, helped cut the ribbon on the new Beer Barrel on Tuesday morning.
“It’s a local favorite to me, so it’s just so nice when you have an investor like John and his staff and his kids to invest and keep on investing in our community,” Metzger said. “There are successful Beer Barrels wherever they go, and I think it’s because of the good quality of service, good quality and variation of food and really the staff. That’s what makes a good solid business, especially in the restaurant industry.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.