Love craft beer? Talk to Chris Russo.
After 20 years away, the Steele High School graduate has returned to his hometown to open The Brew Kettle on Church Street.
“I’m happy to be back to Amherst,” he said. “It’s been very exciting to come back.”
Expanding on his Brew Kettle operation in Strongsville, Russo’s new downtown Amherst endeavor includes a bar, restaurant, and patio area. The pub also serves as a smokehouse: “We generally smoke all our meats,” he said.
“I think people enjoy it. I think they like the food. I think they like the concept and I think they really like the feel of the place.”
The Brew Kettle is known for its wings and pulled pork sandwiches, which Russo said have been named among the top 10 sandwiches in Cleveland.
Everything at the pub is homemade including the salads, soups, sauces, and salad dressings.
Two of the Brew Kettle’s top alcoholic beverages are the White Rajah and El Lupuio Libra.
Russo said the White Rajah was named the best beer in the country in a blind taste test in 2015 and won a medal at the Great American Beer Festival. The El Lupuio Libra received a national medal in 2014.
“That’s what we’re bringing to Amherst,” Russo said. “Good, quality beer. Good, quality food and a nice place to eat and enjoy.”
The business even created the “All for One” beer for the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, which was the first beer ever licensed by the NBA.
The company also had four beers at Cedar Point last summer and Russo hopes to add another for the new ride, the Valravn Birdseye dive roller coaster.
The Amherst native purchased the former Church Street Bar in March 2015 along with investors Larry Niehart and Rodney Davis, who are also Steele graduates.
The trio also bought the old Amherst town hall next to the bar and took it down in April to make room for a patio area. Russo plans to put a fountain and fire pit on the patio in the near future.
Wood beams and sandstone from the old town hall have been incorporated into the walls of the bar area of the Brew Kettle; some of the wood was used for the tables.
Russo said he wanted the new business to stay connected to the old building.
“I think it shows,” he said. “I think it’s beautiful. It’s my favorite part of the room.”
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-988-2801 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Valerie Urbanik | Amherst News-Times
The long-anticipated Brew Kettle is up and running in downtown Amherst, reviving the space vacated by the Church Street Bar.