Three weeks ago Mike Nowak announced that he was pulling up stakes and relocating his two-year-old Black Pig to the former Light Bistro space. Today we are learning what will take its place. All we really had to do to find the answer, though, was to look next door.
Nano Brew, which opened right after Black Pig in the old Garage Bar space next door, will expand its borders, adding two more storefronts to the mix. But don’t expect to walk into one giant, homogenous room, says owner Sam McNulty.
“While we will be connecting the spaces, there will be a clear delineation between those spaces,” explains McNulty.
Adds partner Mike Foran, “The three spaces won’t feel like completely new spaces. There will be certain common themes that mimic that warm, comfortable, loveable space that is Nano, but also stylistic differences between the spaces.”
The new connection point between old Nano and new will take place near the front portion of the current bar, which will extend through the new opening into the old Black Pig space and wrap around into a horseshoe bar. The original barroom of the Black Pig will be used primarily for private events, notes McNulty.
“One of the challenges with Nano was that we never had a private dining space,” he says. “Now we can offer one that feels less formal.”
The old Nano kitchen — a tiny affair below street level — will be relocated into the middle room, where Nowak had his open kitchen. Nano only had seating for about 50 guests, and many of those seats often were snatched up by beer drinkers. This expanded footprint will double the available seats for diners.
“When we first opened up we thought food would be a smaller percentage of our sales,” says McNulty. “But the food concept really took off and that’s partially what’s driving this expansion.”
Moving the kitchen into the middle of the action should greatly enhance that aspect of the business.
Big changes are in store on the brewery side as well. That original “nano” brewhouse — a 2/3-barrel pilot system — will be replaced by a larger (three- or five-barrel) system that will allow for those exciting test brews to be available for longer stretches of time.
Also in the works is a creative way to connect all outdoor spaces, says McNulty. “We’re working on a plan to connect the upper-level Black Pig patio to the Nano beer garden by a stairwell so there will be one continuous circuit.” Guests will be able to walk into the old Black Pig space, out the back door, up onto the patio where great views of Cleveland await, and then down into the Nano beer garden.
Throughout all these changes, which will be completed as early as next week but likely before Thanksgiving, Nano remains open for business.
Given the expansion, is Nano still nano?
“We’re just giving you a little bit more Nano,” notes Foran.