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Plans for Community Beer Works' Falls brewpub get bigger

Community Beer Works is expanding its Niagara Falls brewpub project after development partner Savarino Companies bought an adjacent building.

The Buffalo-based craft brewer now expects to open its first full-fledged brewpub on Niagara Street this fall.

In November 2016, Community Beer Works announced plans to turn the former Press Box space at 324 Niagara St. into a brewpub serving beer made on premises and in the company's Buffalo facility. It would be the city's first brewery in more than 75 years.

"When we originally conceived the project, we had one building we were going to use," said Community Beer Works' Ethan Cox. "Being able to spread out across essentially three storefronts makes it much easier, and allows (Savarino) to put apartments above it, which makes the overall project more feasible."

There was one big drawback, though: "It forced us quite literally back to the drawing board."

The Niagara Falls brewpub will still hold about 100 in the dining room and bar, with counter seating for quicker meals. A small three-barrel brewing system will produce about 40 to 50 percent of the house beer, and a full-service restaurant is being designed with Toutant's James Roberts as a consultant.

There's still lots of work to be done, Cox said. The buildings have to be refurbished, then outfitted for commercial and residential use. "I hope to have real construction by March or April," Cox said. "That's admittedly aggressive."

The place will be designed to appeal to locals, and not rely on tourists, said Cox. The current menu sketches center on midcentury comfort food, with family-style casseroles, and dishes like beef Stroganoff and chicken cacciatore.

Don't expect $18 venison burgers. "We want it to be approachable and familiar," Cox said.

Experimental and limited release beers plus plenty of basic core Community Brewing options will be available to drink.

Community Beer Works expands again

Meanwhile, Community Beer Works' new main brewery in Buffalo, at 520 Seventh St., is set for an April opening. Its production facility and barroom at 15 Lafayette St. remains open throughout.

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