Brewser's has become a 'destination'
COAL TOWNSHIP - Brewser's SportsGrille, now in its sixth year, has become a well-known and popular eatery, and not only for people in Shamokin and Coal Township. It's become a destination for those looking for great food and a great value.
"We expected to be a destination restaurant, but we didn't expect to be a household name in the coal region this quickly," said Geno Welsh.
Welsh, along with his business partner, Dan Hauer, opened Brewser's in 2008 at the same location between Walnut and Arch streets where Welsh's father had operated the Bonanza Restaurant.
"We have not changed our business plan since we opened," Welsh said. "It is still great food and great service at a great value. It is as simple as that."
Brewser's was an immediate hit in the area, and over the past five-plus years, the pair have been diligent in maintaining and growing their brand as an all-inclusive atmosphere where families can dine and sports fans can watch almost any event on their multiple flat screen televisions.
Welsh and Hauer give much of the credit for Brewser's success to their loyal and hard-working staff. Brewser's employs six full-time and 21 part-time workers, and there has been only minimal turnover since they opened their doors.
"Eighty percent of our staff have been with us since day one," Welsh said. "That is unheard of in this industry."
"In the time we have been open, I am proud of being able to create a very reliable restaurant for our employees so they can support their families," Hauer said. "We truly do believe that taking care of our employees is a big thing. We want them to like where they work," he added.
Tammy Wetzel is the kitchen manager. Among other things, she's responsible for keeping the menu fresh.
Kelly Lawrence, the beverage manager, is responsible for the bar and inventory. Brewser's craft beer offerings have increased to 150 varieties, and the restaurant rotates what is available on draft.
Matt Schell manages the front of the house where servers answer directly to him. As with any restaurant, servers play a big part in a customer's experience. They are Brewser's face. Schell works hard to ensure that the staff is both friendly and knowledgeable.
"We always wanted to be on the cutting edge of things. Incorporating new menu items or the craft beers into our everyday restaurant was very challenging," Hauer said in September at their five-year mark.
Brewser's is currently running one of its most popular promotions, "March Burger Madness," with any hamburger on the menu selling at the discounted price of $5.55. Welsh estimates that they have sold more than 40,000 burgers in the past year alone.
They also hold many other special events such as beer-tasting nights.
Brewser's changed its menu in conjunction with its five-year anniversary in September to offer their customers more choice. The restaurant's clientele responded well to the change. Brewser's now offers flat bread sandwiches, gluten-free dishes and a vegetarian menu.
Welsh and Hauer have been approached many times about franchising the Brewser's brand, and expansion of new locations is on their minds. For now, their focus remains first and foremost on their current and only location.
"We sat down and took a deep breath because it has all happened so quickly and we didn't want to make a decision that would jeopardize this location. Five years, we're still babies and we're still growing and we learn everyday," Hauer said in September.
A kitchen renovation and expansion is planned for this spring and summer. The owners acquired several surrounding properties to increase to allow for addition parking.
"We didn't want to disrupt business for our five-year anniversary or football season," Welsh said. "It will be done for this year's football season."
In addition to burgers, beer, customers and their employees, Brewser's is focused on giving back to the community.
"Helping our community is one of our top priorities. Geno and I opened the business to make a difference, and I feel that we are. As a teacher, I like to help out the children any way I can," said Hauer, a kindergarten teacher. Brewser's sponsors benefit nights and helps with the Shepherd's Table food pantry.
Brewser's SportsGrille, located between Arch and Walnut streets in Coal Township, opens at 11 a.m. daily seven days a week. It has specials on lunch, dinner and drinks. To view their food and drink menus, visit www.brewsers.com. There are two private rooms available for parties or large groups. Walk-ins are always welcome, but reservations are accepted. Call 570-648-7122 for more information.