By Joshua Maloni
For 15 years, the Brickyard Pub & B.B.Q. has been Lewiston’s go-to place for killer Bs: barbecue and beer.
Though owners Ken Bryan and Eric Matthews were initially met with skepticism, their restaurant has exceeded expectations – as has a neighboring second site, Brickyard Brewing Company.
“We never thought it would grow to what it has,” Bryan said. “I mean, we knew it would grow, but the path that it’s taken in the 15 years, no.”
“It’s been a fun ride,” he added.
Though he and Matthews divested themselves of two restaurants in 2019 (Tin Pan Alley and what will soon become Gather by Gallo), “We plan on staying around for a long time; we’re not going anywhere soon,” Bryan said.
In downsizing, Bryan and Matthews opted to focus in on their Brickyard properties – those killer Bs, in particular.
“We’ve been fortunate enough for 15 years, it’s grown every single year. And right now, we’re moving in a different direction,” Bryan said. “Everybody knows we downsized some of the restaurants, and we are pushing our beer product. And we’ve watched that increase a hundred percent from the last year, as we’re starting to push the beer into the market. It’s gone from the Hudson Valley all the way to the Buffalo region. So, for us, it’s very exciting, and something new, and it just generates new life and blood. It keeps you young.”
(Photos by Mark Williams Jr.)
Bryan said he also sees opportunity to distribute Brickyard barbecue well beyond the village limits.
“People are just passionate about barbecue,” he said. “We get people from Kansas City, Texas all the time, that come in and are just, ‘Wow!’ They just can’t believe. We had one guy, we shipped food back to Kansas City to him. He wanted to show his barbecue people down there that it’s better in the north than it is in the south. Those things are very nice to see.
“And the barbecue has been growing every year; for 15 years we’ve seen an increase in business, food business. You know, the catering business on the barbecue side is huge, and we do very little advertising for that. It’s something that has big room for growth for us in the next few years, that we’re probably going to focus a little bit more on.”
GM Steve Matthews said, “We’re definitely among some of the best barbecue places in I’d say New York.”
“People are just passionate about different foods. They’re passionate about the beers,” Bryan said. “We’re extremely lucky with the brewmaster we have, John Meteer. We’re producing some of the better beers in the area. Come and taste them for yourself – and really taste the beer; not drink beer, but taste the beer.”
BBC opened in 2017.
“It’s been a learning process for myself, and I think for everybody here. It’s something that Eric and I wanted to do 25 years ago, before we bought Tin Pan,” Bryan said. “Tin Pan was supposed to be a brewery. Niagara County couldn’t figure out who was going to monitor the licensing … and we just moved forward into a different direction. And 20 years later, Steve pushed us to say, ‘Let’s go back to the what you guys want to do,’ and we did; and it’s going great.”
(Photo by Mark Williams Jr.)
Brewmaster John Meteer is shown holding BBC product at a past Harvest & Hops Festival. (File photo)
Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Pauly said, “Lewiston is fortunate to have a popular dining scene that has really grown over the past decade. Ken, Eric and their staff have been a big part of that growth. They have created establishments that provide quality food, beverages and atmosphere, as well as support hundreds of organizations in our community. The chamber has a great working relationship with them, and we look forward to new things to come this year!”
Reflecting on the anniversary, Bryan said, “We’ve been very fortunate with great staff over the years. That’s probably one of our best attributes that we’ve had is staff. We can’t say ‘Thank you’ enough to the good ones. Thank you guys for doing what you’ve done for us.”
Steve Matthews added, “It’s nice to see people, that have never been here, stopping. We’re still getting new people in the building, which is great to see after 15 years. It’s not just the locals that are supporting us; it’s also tourists coming through. And that’s grown – tourism has definitely grown through Lewiston – so it’s nice to see.”
The Brickyard will celebrate its 15th anniversary with a party starting at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21. Musicians Zak Ward and The A-List will perform, while patrons can win special giveaways.
“It’s just a 15-year, let’s have fun night, kind of party; bring in some bands, and food, and we’re bringing back old bartenders that have bartended for us over the last 15 years – we’ll call them guest bartenders, but they’re old staff,” Bryan said. “Just have some fun, laughs, and let the community come in and have drink specials, and we’re giving away food and whatnot. Just a good time.”
The Brickyard Pub & BBQ is located at 432 Center St. Visit www.brickyardpub.com.
Brickyard Pub & B.B.Q., and Brickyard Brewing Company (Photo by Mark Williams Jr.)
Eric and Ken posed together for their 10th anniversary. (File photo)