Southernside Brewing Co. is now open for business at 25 Delano Drive, in the former El Thrifty spot right off the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail.
While the location remains just as spacious, with a large outdoor area that looks out on the trail, the menu and the driving philosophy behind the brewery and restaurant are entirely new.
Same goes for the team running the show.
“We’re all local guys,” said Nate Tomforde, owner-operator of Southernside Brewing Co. “From the brewer to the bar manager to the assistant brewer to the staff, we’re all a local team that wants to make something we know the community is going to respond to.”
Tomforde, who started the self-service craft beer concept Pour Taproom, said it’s all in the name: “Southernside.”
“You look for what people like, and so with this space, we saw the opportunity to really embrace the Southernside neighborhood in everything we do,” he said. “It’s southern-infused food, with a neighborhood atmosphere.”
Those familiar with the location won’t see a massive overhaul to the interior space, but there are plenty of noticeable additions. Large bourbon barrels have been arranged in spots to serve as high tops, as a subtle nod to the brewery’s expansive bourbon list. Incidentally, Southernside has the only liquor license on the trail.
The most noticeable addition inside is the large, colorful mural painted on the side of the brand new walk-in cooler overlooking the billiards tables, along with the line of steel brewing tanks along the back wall.
The young head brewer, Kenny Driggers, has an engineering degree and started brewing as soon as he got out of college. “He’s the smartest guy in the building — not me, that’s for dang sure,” Tomforde said.
The beer list will rotate and adapt over the coming weeks, while cocktail options range from a classic Manhattan to a “Sugar Cookie” creamy vodka drink that “will remind you of your grandmother’s cookies,” according to the menu.
Bourbon lovers can find pours as familiar as Knob Creek or Maker’s Mark, or rarer selections like Whistle Pig Boss Hog.
The new food menu, designed by Christian Grohman, formerly of Caviar and Bananas, is elevated and southern-infused, while still managing to be approachable for a broad range of eaters.
Appetizers include familiar options like pretzels and beer cheese, fried pickles, deviled eggs, chicken tenders and truffle parmesan fries, but everything is made in-house and made to order.
“There’s nothing like fried chicken when it’s breaded and made to order,” Tomforde said. “All the sauces too — the ranch dressing, the honey mustard, our beer cheese — is our own, with the only exception being the ketchup, because people want their ketchup to taste the same.”
- French fries
- Pimento Mac n’ cheese
- Apple pie with ice cream
Main courses offer plenty of crowd pleasers as well — southern fried-chicken sandwich, slow roasted pulled pork sandwich, bourbon bacon jam burger — as well as some less common items like a crawfish roll (think a lobster roll but with crawfish), the “Chickpea of the Sea” (think a chicken salad sandwich but for vegans) and a unique take on a buffalo chicken salad.
Kids can also order hot dogs, grilled cheese and their own chicken tender basket off the kid’s menu.
“It’s a simple menu but there’s something for everybody,” Tomforde said. “I feel like that really encapsulates our brand.”
A main goal of the new concept was to hone in on the outdoor space, Tomforde said. Outside, in the area looking out on the trail, a 30- by 40-foot pergola covered in sheet metal offers shade and relief from the weather, while numerous automated fire pits allow for people to drink and eat at the picnic tables even during colder months.
“We want to do a ton of outdoor events, starting with free outdoor concerts every Saturday night,” Tomforde said.
He said he hopes the brewery will be a place where families can come together. As the married father of three daughters ages eight to 13 (“We gave up trying for a boy eventually,” he said, laughing), Tomforde described the environment as just as important as the beer and the food.
“Breweries are about community and family. We’re selling an environment, a space and an atmosphere, and as a result we hope you drink some beer and eat some food and enjoy yourselves,” he said.
Part of that goal is for the brewery to stick around for the long-haul, he added.
“We’re here to be a part of the community, a part of Unity Park and a place to provide a great new spot off the trail for a long time,” he said.
Southernside Brewing Co. is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.