Rick Semersky, owner of the historic Sterle's Country House in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood, has big plans for the adjacent property. At present, the buildings at 1361 E. 55th Street house VIP, Semersky's building exterior contractor company. But he's been quietly working to redevelop much of that property.
"We're repurposing the building next to Sterle's that my company, VIP, is located in," he explains. "We already have our first new tenant, Ann King from Borrow Vintage Rentals."
Next up is Café 55, a breakfast and lunch café that Semersky hopes to open by late summer. He's partnering on the project with Courtney Bonning of Bonbon Pastry and Café. Guests can look forward to coffee, pastries, sandwiches and salads.
Semersky also reports that he's in the final planning phases of a new microbrewery that will take up residence in a 12,000-square-foot space in the Old School Cabinetry building. The 10-barrel brewery will feature a 75-seat taproom with a bar and patio.
"This will be an old-school brewery brewing pilsners and lagers — stuff that fits in with what we're doing at Sterle's," Semersky explains. "You're not going to find any crazy hopped-up IPAs with funny, stupid names."
Semersky says that in addition to supplying beer for the onsite taproom, the brewery will supply neighboring Sterle's, replacing the house beer currently brewed by Sprecher Brewery in Milwaukee. If all goes well, the beer also will be distributed to other bars and restaurants in the neighborhood.
Semersky currently is interviewing prospective brewmasters for the project and will travel next week to the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver to source brewing equipment. If all goes as planned, the brewery could be operational by the end of the year or the beginning of 2015, says Semersky.
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