New restaurant, 205 Grill, opens inside Copper Trail Brewing Company
205 Grill is the collaboration between Dave Gibbons, brewery owner, and Kent Kopp, owner of Pike and Pint Grill in Alexandria.
ALEXANDRIA — Col·lab·o·ra·tion – noun, the action of working with someone to produce or create something.
The collaboration between two Alexandria businessmen – Dave Gibbons, owner of Copper Trail Brewing Company and Kent Kopp, owner of Pike and Pint Grill, has finally come to fruition after about a year of planning.
The two created 205 Grill, a restaurant located inside the brewery. It opened this week.
But the collaboration goes beyond just Copper Trail and Pike and Pint. Gibbons and Kopp collaborated with two other businesses to create items on the menu – Roers Bakery in Alexandria and the Redhead Creamery located in Brooten.
Where did the idea come from?
So, how did the idea for a restaurant inside a brewery come to be? Kopp and Gibbons explain.
Gibbons said from the beginning, the brewery has always wanted to have food options for their patrons. When the current location was built, they included a small kitchen in the design. For a while, Gibbons said Jason Schmidt from Smokin’ Brews and ‘Ques offered food seven days a week. However, Gibbons said Schmidt went on his own and opened up his own food truck and catering business.
After that, Gibbons said the brewery would have food trucks parked outside the brewery. However, he said it was hard to coordinate and at times, hard to fill the schedule. Both Gibbons and Kopp said it was inconsistent with the food trucks.
While on a vacation in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Rita, Kopp said they visited a couple of breweries. They were at one with some really good beers, but they were surprised that there weren't a lot of people. The couple then visited another brewery that had just as good of beer, but it was packed with people.
The only difference? Kopp said the brewery with lots of people offered food.
Kopp, who is friends with Gibbons and Adam Graf, who started the brewery with Gibbons, contacted them and said he wanted to have a talk about helping them launch a food business at the brewery. Graf was a part of the first stages, but this past summer, he moved onto a new journey and has returned to work at Aagard, where he worked before opening the brewery with Gibbons.
“Are you serious about this?” Gibbons said he asked Kopp when the idea was brought to him. “I’m all for it, but how does this work? We’re beer people, not restaurant people.”
As the owner of Pike and Pint, Kopp knows a thing or two about the restaurant aspect of things and said he has been very fortunate when it comes to staffing. He interviewed an applicant right before the job for kitchen manager was posted, said Kopp. Edward Ramirez wasn’t hired at Pike and Pint, but was hired as the new kitchen manager for the 205 Grill.
Kopp said that although he is involved in the restaurant aspect, the employees of the 205 Grill are Gibbons’ employees and not his. One of Kopp’s employees at his restaurant, Jen Pastian, executive chef, and Mike White, executive chef at Geneva Grill, are training the 205 Grill employees. Kopp said 205 Grill has been Pastian’s project and that she will be helping with menu updates and other aspects, but that she is still the executive chef at Pike and Pint.
“Dave’s not a food guy, so we will be helping with quality assurance of the food and all aspects of the restaurant,” said Kopp.
Gibbons said the restaurant will be housed under the brewery, but it will definitely have Pike and Pint’s fingerprint on it.
What about the menu?
The menu will feature some items made with Copper Trail beer, like the beer cheese fondue and the craft beer soup of the day. Soups, by the way, can come in a bread bowl with the bread made at Roer’s Family Bakery from spent grain that is leftover from making beer. And the cheese for the beer cheese fondue, beer cheese nachos and other items on the menu are coming from the Redhead Creamery.
One thing you won’t find on the menu is anything fried as the kitchen will not have a deep fryer. Kopp said it makes for a cleaner kitchen.
As for the name of the restaurant, the two wanted to keep it simple. The number, 205, comes from the brewery’s address, 205 Broadway. Kopp said the logo is a subtle nod to both businesses, however. In the zero, there is the river that is part of Copper Trail’s logo and next to the word “grill” are the fish that are part of Pike and Pint’s logo.
They both wanted something clean and classic and when the finished logo was presented, they said it “just felt right.”
They also jokingly said that “Kent’s Kitchen” and “Dave’s Diner” were two names that just never stuck.