This article originally ran in Navarre Press | THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2014
By Shana Roberson
Larry Rolison knows exactly who the customers at his new restaurant, “Ye Olde Brothers Brewery,” will be. They will have an affinity for craft beer and great food. They will appreciate the quality, vintage appeal of the restaurant which features colonial lighting, Spanish Saltillo tile floors and rocking chairs lining the wrap-around porch.
“We’re going to take it slow and make it what the customers want,” Rolison said of the business philosophy guiding the restaurant.
Rolison is one of two brothers who have run a successful electrical business, BJL Sources Inc., for more than 15 years. He and his twin brother Jerry create custom controls and system integrations for companies all over the country.
“We automate things,” Rolison said of the work he and his brother do.
The Rolisons were born in Vidalia, Georgia, and have lived in the area for three decades. When they moved from Fort Walton Beach 15 years ago, they bought a plot of land and built their home. Then they purchased a plot of land for their business, which continues to grow. Recently, the adjacent land became available.
BJL Sources has proven successful for the brothers and has earned them a “large amount of cash” that they wanted to invest instead of having to “out run the banks.” Ye Olde Brothers Brewery was the perfect solution for the Rolisons.
Crafting beer and beer-making equipment
The brothers used their technical expertise to design and build a system that computerizes the brewing process.
At first they will offer other craft beers locals have come to love like those from McGuire’s Irish Pub and Sweetwater Brewery Company.
They will also have their own house versions of an IPA, a Porter, a stout, and a Bass Ale. And once they’re really rolling, Rolison hopes to also have bread ales and specialties like pumpkin ales. He also plans to invite local craft beer brewers to come up with their own recipes. “If we like it, we’ll name it after you and serve it right here,” he said.
Don’t forget the food
The Rolisons will garner pizza expertise from Ron Schaeffer, who locals may remember ran one of the first restaurants in Navarre. DeVinci’s featured Italian cuisine and pizza during its 20-year run.
The wood-fire oven will be able to cook a pizza in two to three minutes, and the pizzas will be served through a sliding glass window. Another small window to the porch will also be used to serve pizza as well.
Pizza won’t be the only item on the menu, however. The restaurant will feature additional fare, including a few familiar beer companions: chicken wings and steak, among others.
The wood fire oven, capable of burning up to 1,000 degrees, will allow the chefs to cook steaks on a fire any-where from 600 to 800 degrees. Rolison hopes to provide steaks on par with Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, which is famous for cooking steaks at similar temperatures.
Food was not the only consideration the Rolisons painstakingly mapped out. Spanish Saltillo tiles on the floor, drains in the kitchens and plastic coating on the brewery walls will make for easy cleanup.
An air-conditioning system that rang in at nearly $5,000 is also part of the plan to make customers happy.
“It’s gon’ be comfortable,” Rolison said with a nod.
If they choose to expand, the porch will allow them to add up to 150 diners. The spacious restaurant inside has room for 86. The bar sits off to the right with the rest of the area ready for dine-in customers. At the rear of the restaurant is a large kitchen that will prepare the non-wood-fire oven food.
Speakers will play blues, jazz and soft rock – but “not too loud.” Rolison said he hopes to create a family atmosphere and has put safety and security at the top of his priority list. Security cam-eras and a brightly lit parking lot are a part of that plan.
The Ye Olde Brothers Brewery will not offer mixed drinks and he has already spoken with those nearby, including local churches, to assure them it won’t be a “beer joint.”
Rolison hopes to cultivate a regular, local customer base when they open in January.
“If I don’t get a tourist, I don’t care,” he said.
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