Blue Plate Company plans Loose-Wiles Freehouse brewpub in North Loop

Here are details on the new restaurant from the owners of Highland Grill, Edina Grill, Scusi, the Lowry, and more
Here are details on the new restaurant from the owners of Highland Grill, Edina Grill, Scusi, the Lowry, and more

North Loop is fast becoming the hippest ticket in town. The Blue Plate Company is known for reading just what a neighborhood needs in a casual restaurant spot. This fall, the two will come together. We spoke with co-owner Stephanie Shimp and have all the hoppy details about their plans.

The restaurant will be named for the biscuit factory that had once been housed in the converted warehouse at 701 Washington Ave. N. The original Loose-Wiles company would eventually rechristen themselves as the Sunshine Biscuit Company (fans of Cheez-It's, Animal Crackers, and Hydrox cookies might remember that name).

Shimp shared the trivia nugget that in those days most warehouses were dark, dank, miserable places to work. The owners of Loose-Wiles actually cared about their workers' well-being and had tons of windows in the place, which led to the Sunshine moniker. It fits with how Shimp and Blue Plate partner David Burley feel about their employees, hoping to foster a happy work place.

What this means for customers is -- Cheez-It's! While they haven't hired a chef, she teased, "Don't be surprised if you find an animal-cracker-crusted something, or our spin on a Cheez-It." Sounds like something that would be delicious paired with a local beer.

You won't be able to get any more local than theirs. Blue Plate has long toyed with the idea of a brewpub, and the time is upon us. They will have hired an as-of-yet unnamed brewer to craft four beers to begin, but hope to expand to 10, which will include seasonal and special brews. They will also be selling growlers in-house. Phase two of the plan will be to distribute their beer to the other locations. Fans of the local craft movement will be happy to know that they'll also pour guest brews from local guys like Fulton, Surly, and 612 Brew.

"We haven't even reached the potential for this [craft beer] market," Shimp says. "David traveled to Portland. We went to Denver, and we aren't even close to what we could do."  

The food plans (outside of the Cheez-Its) will be similar to what they do at the Lowry. They will offer some familiar Blue Plate dishes like sweet potato fries and the turkey burger. The will continue to bring in more local vendors and farmers, although she warns they've never been a farm-to-table company.

The space also has a natural patio with beautiful honey locust trees and parking. They will have a few dedicated spots during the day and an entire lot open to diners at night.

The new brewpub will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with the casual, come-as-you-are vibe that all their restaurants share. "We've been doing a lot of research, and we think we'll be the only brewpub around that serves breakfast." Yes. Beer is the new breakfast.

As of right now the projected opening date is September 24.

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