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Owners Hope Brew Pub Becomes 'Destination Location' in Brewster

The property is located in the Town of Southeast, but there's an annexation petition for it to be added to the Village of Brewster. A public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday (Nov. 20).

Sciortino's closed in January 2013, and a new establishment will soon open in its place.
Sciortino's closed in January 2013, and a new establishment will soon open in its place.
Step inside of the old Sciortino's Restaurant and it's clear a major transformation is underway. 

Come three months from now, the building will house the Bull and Barrel Brew Pub, a microbrewery and pairing restaurant that is the brainchild of co-owners Wendy Wulkan and Rick Cipriani.

It will include seating for about 200 people on two levels, a salad bar with seasonal fruit and vegetables from local farms, and a merchandise room with growlers for purchase—all with a country Western flair. 

Work on the interior of the building started about two weeks ago. Since then a slew of trucks have been parked outside as carpenters get to work carrying out Wulkan and Cipriani's vision.

"Everything that's been done inside here has not been done by a designer, it's been done by Rick and I," Wulkan said Monday. "These are all our personal touches that our heart and soul have gone into. We want to see people's excitement when they come and see it in person."

The finished product will feature 1855 barn wood, which Wulkan purchased in Ferndale, throughout the building, and the handiwork of local craftspeople. Carmel Auto Body is painting the bathroom stalls.

"We're big advocates of hiring and working within the community in which we live in, because it's the community that supports you, so we want to make sure to support it back," Wulkan said. "Almost all our vendors are Putnam County businesses. We've gone above and beyond to deal with American-made equipment, things that are manufactured in America, so we're trying to stay true to the concept we've created, which is very patriotic."

Wulkan, a Carmel resident and co-owner of South Side Inn in Mahopac, has 15 years experience in the bar and restaurant business.

Cipriani, who lives in Somers, used to own a small brewery. The facility will employ apprentice brewers, but he will be the primary one.

Beers made there will be the only ones on tap, but other brands will be available by the bottle. Eventually the brew pub, which will boast a large bar, may add other microbrewery lines from the area to their draft selection.

The goal is to become a destination location "for people that would never think to stop into Brewster," Cipriani and Walkun said. They are confident that will happen because of the establishment's unique offerings and its proximity to busy thoroughfares—and because of their "loyalty, commitment and passion."

"We're not compromising anything with the outside aesthetics because we want to honor Joe Sciortino and his family, because the town loved him so much," Walkun said, adding that the building fits perfectly with the vision. "Hopefully we become the next Sciortino's."

Walkun and Cipriani are hoping to host a soft opening in January, but the timeline is not definite.

The property and an application for a sign requiring a variance was on the agenda for Monday night's meeting of the Town of Southeast Zoning Board of Appeals.

Located at 988 Route 22, it's also one of three properties appearing on an annexation petition for the Village of Brewster. The other two properties are 13 Argonne Road, a vacant parcel of land across the street, and 978 Route 22, the adjacent Mobil gas station. 

All three are located in the Town of Southeast, but the petition (available by clicking here and finding the Oct. 16, 2013 minutes), and a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday night, are part of the legal process required to add properties into the village. More information on the annexation law is available here.

"The reality of it is that at the end of the day, our desire to be annexed is based on the same facts of why everybody else is, that there's a sewer system to be tied into," Walkun told Patch Monday. "We can and will function as we sit, but for the better of the environment, for the better of the location because we're so close to the precious reservoir waters, it makes more sense, environmentally, for us to be hooked up into the sewer system as well."

Brewster Mayor Jim Schoenig said he and the village trustees are interested in getting residents' input on the proposal.

"I've never seen it happen before and the board will wait to hear what the public has to say," Brewster Mayor Jim Schoenig said.

Sciortino's closed in January 2013. 



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The public hearing is slated for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 20) at Village Hall (50 Main Street). Click here for more information.

Employment inquiries for the Bull and Barrel Brew Pub should be sent to career@bullandbarrelbrewpub.com.

Susan Riley November 20, 2013 at 07:08 AM
I'm looking forward to trying it out when the new place opens!
lillian philbin November 20, 2013 at 07:43 AM
looking forward to the opening what a great idea
Brewster Bob November 20, 2013 at 08:08 AM
I hope the town/village does not make this a problem - a great idea! Can't wait for it to open!
Patricia Schwerkolt November 20, 2013 at 09:13 AM
Sounds great!! Bring Brewster back.
Debbie Osborne Migliaccio November 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM
Good luck, this town could use a great restaurant! The fact that you are utilizing a building that is already standing is even better. But I read that you don't want to change the exterior??? Wish you would!!!! It's an eyesore!!!I don't think the people who love Mr. Scortino would have a problem with that at all!!!

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