Herald Business Editor
SHARON — Work is under way to bring a restaurant with a brewery operation to downtown Sharon.
Owners of Brewtus Brewers bought the former Tap House restaurant last month in a tax sale and have begun to transform the building to accommodate a microbrewery along with a restaurant. It would be the first such operation in Mercer County.
The four-story brick structure at 23 Chestnut St., known as the Willsonia Building, housed the Chestnut Street Cafe bar and restaurant before it became the Tap House. The century-old building also once was the home of The Herald, from 1913-35.
The principals of the business, Jason Camerlengo of Brookfield and John Larocca of Clark, have been brewing together as home brewers since 2010 and are looking to bring their expertise to Sharon. Patty Larocca, John’s wife, and Shelby Dukes, Jason’s girlfriend, are co-owners of the enterprise, which is expected to be named Brewtus Brewing.
“We’ve been gutting the place, putting in new bathrooms, and creating a new front entrance on Chestnut Street,’’ Dukes said.
“When completed the restaurant will house the brewery production on the main floor, which will also have a family-style restaurant,’’ Dukes said.
Plans call for the operation to serve eight beers on tap year round with four to five of those beers being seasonal. The operation will also craft several soda pop flavors such as root beer and grape, she added.
The complex will have a speakeasy look from the 1920s Prohibition era with the basement serving as a pub where customers can eat and watch sports, Dukes said. The second floor will be a banquet area with the third floor serving as offices
“We will be replacing every single window in the building – 58 in all – and will be redoing the roof and adding a sprinkler system,’’ Dukes said.
The menu will offer fresh deli sandwiches with artisan pizza and there’s a chance of having a brick oven to cook the pizza.
It’s possible the business could open as early as July but because of permitting requirements for the brewery it may not be until October.