I've had this fantasy for years, in thousands of variations, maybe some of you have too. You walk through an empty place, a shell, and dream it into existence, a house, a park, a farm, a restaurant.
This morning I met the building owner at the Kress Building.
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Here is the building before the recent renovation.
Now there is a beautiful facade of limestone and brick behind where the windows are in the photo, and a stairwell that leads below street level. Open to the air is a little courtyard, and then the entrance to the basement space. Courtyard and dining space and kitchen are roughly 2200 square feet.
I'm burying the lead. We got the space. Brian, the building owner, as he'll now be known as, is going to start renovating the space to our specifications as soon as possible. We could be open as soon as July. I spent the morning visualizing the space, talking materials, planning everything, from lighting to work stations to flow of traffic. A fantasy come true. I lived the space. My own goddamned restaurant and bar.
There is still lots to work out, but it has started. It's real.
I'll be taking part in a few of the city's incentive programs, if all goes as it seems it will, and I met with one of the Chamber of Commerce people yesterday to get an overview of the opportunities for grants, forgiveable loans, etc. After going over the programs, we talked casually about what Salina was doing, expanding the community theater, 'refloating' the Smoky Hill River downtown (it has been dammed dry stupidly for decades) etc. Eventually Larry says:
"You know there's a brewery in town."
"I'm sorry, Larry, I'm very certain there is not."
"No, I mean the guts of one. One of the big property owners bought some years ago and never did anything for it. Somewhere in town is a warehouse with everything a brewery needs just sitting there."
I just gaped, then shook it off and let the spooky roll over me. Don't know if anything will come from it, if I could jump into a brewery after the wine bar and small plates are up and running, but what if my brewery has just been waiting for me?
Okay-- I have to get some vines in the ground. There's a chance for weather tomorrow.