PHOENIX — In January 2020, Huss Brewing Co. announced that it was opening a taproom and restaurant at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix. It would be the brewery's third location in the Valley.
At the time, it was anticipated to open at the end of 2020. But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, businesses navigated closures and reopenings, events stopped, people quarantined, and some construction projects were delayed, included Huss'.
Fifteen months after that announcement, Huss Brewing confirmed this week that it was moving forward with the project, now expected to begin construction over the summer with an opening anticipated for the fall.
It will be located on the north side of the convention center off Monroe Street between Second and Third streets, and will face the Herberger Theatre.
Chip Muhala, director of sales and marketing at Huss, said the pandemic allowed them to review their initial plans and change the concept to better fit with today's restaurant landscape.
"We feel that we're actually in a better place," said Chip Mulala in an Tuesday afternoon interview with ABC15. "We like this concept even more than we did originally. So for us, the pandemic, actually, this was a positive that came out of the fact that we needed to wait another year-and-a-half to get here and really kind of fine-tune."
Originally, the plan was to build a two-story restaurant. Now, the bar and restaurant will be on the same level with a bar and restaurant, indoor and patio seating, and a new dedicated service area for to-go, pickup, and third-party food delivery.
Mulala said they designed the restaurant to cater to those attending sporting events, conventions, shows at the Herberger Theatre or Phoenix Symphony, or spending a day at the Arizona Science Center, but also to serve as a local hangout for those moving to or living in downtown Phoenix.
"We want people to be able to either, you know, grab something quick if they're just riding their bike down and do that, or if they want to sit down and have a beer, we have ample outdoor seating if you're on the way to an event," he said.
Huss Brewing, the City of Phoenix, and Aventura Catering, a division of Aramark, have partnered on the project.
Founders Leah and Jeff Huss opened Huss Brewing in South Tempe in 2013. In 2016, they acquired Papago Brewing Company. In 2017, they opened a taproom at Uptown Plaza in central Phoenix.
"We’re looking forward to being a part of the downtown Phoenix community and helping the revitalization of the area, especially bringing a vibrant nightlife back to downtown’s sports, arts and events community," said Leah Huss in a prepared statement.