Microbrewery planned for downtown’s Digger O’Dell’s restaurant and bar

Digger O’Dell’s on West Main Street is set to open a microbrewery, serving up beers made with local ingredients.
The brewery is expected to open in May or June of next year, and will be built in the empty space next door, the former Crystal bar, which was taken over by Digger O’Dell’s last year. A glass wall will separate the brewery from the restaurant, inviting customers to peer in at the process.
Executive chef Bob Grippi said the menu will be re-created to pair dishes with the different brews. He’ll specially develop local seafood, vegetable and steak recipes to go with certain beers that will together please the pallet.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said owner Stephen Wirth. He said he feels he can put out a better product than global brands such as Coors, Budweiser and Heineken. The brewery will produce a variety of beers — browns, reds and golds. It will also serve American light lagers, American pale ales, German beers and Belgian-style wheat beers, costing approximately $5 for a 22-ounce glass.
“We’re going to move around quite a bit,” Mr. Wirth said. “We won’t be tied to any one beer.”
He said he plans to maintain a couple of mainstay beers to sell to other area restaurants.
Mr. Wirth is waiting on a loan to finance the brewery, which will cost about $300,000.. He also plans to double the size of Digger O’Dell’s kitchen and build an outdoor deck. The total cost of renovations is expected to be about $475,000.
Ray Pickersgill, president of the Downtown Riverhead Business Improvement District, said the brewery will be a positive addition to Riverhead’s main street that residents are eagerly anticipating.
“The most successful main streets have at least one [brewery],” he said. “Another empty store will be taken. It’s another good thing coming to Riverhead.”
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