Eighteen months after buying the former Weakley-Watson Sporting Goods building in downtown Brownwood, Jeff Tucker’s plans for Teddy’s Brewhaus — a brewery and eatery that will be housed in the building and is five days away from opening — have evolved, but never wavered.
Teddy’s Brewhaus — named in honor of Teddy Roosevelt — opens its doors for the first time at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30. Guests well be welcomed into the rustic, spacious interior that bears no resemblance to the sporting goods store once housed there. Food and beverages including tea, coffee — and, of course, several versions of Teddy’s own draft beers — will be available.
“It’s great to finally be here,” Tucker said as he showed a visitor around and introduced head brewer Olivia Hawes.
Teddy’s will eventually include an indoor-outdoor beer garden, and construction on that portion is ongoing. For now, Teddy’s consists of three areas – tasting room, banquet room and lounge – that can accommodate just under 300 guests.
It’s not fancy, but comfortable, inviting and unpretentious, more eclectic than upscale. Artwork and Texas battle flags are among the items on the walls. Wooden tables and chairs and a large bar have been installed, and several large pieces of equipment make up a complex brewing station.
Teddy’s will be open Wednesday through Saturday. On Wednesday through Friday, the business will open at 4 p.m. and remain open until around 11 p.m., Tucker said. It will open at noon Saturday, with the closing time around 11.
Tucker envisions opening for lunch and breakfast in the future. For now, Teddy’s is starting simple as the business finds its way.
Teddy’s is available to rent for events such as parties and reunions.
Teddy’s is starting with seven beer brews, although the tap wall is set up for 18. Teddy’s will include wine and a distillery in the future, Tucker said.
There won’t be a traditional menu with multiple choices of food items. Instead, it will be “chef’s choice” each night – one entrée that changes each night with sides and desserts, Tucker said.
“We want to do one thing really well,” Tucker said. “You’re not going to come in and see 20 things on the menu. Each night it’s something different.”
Teddy’s has already had a “soft opening,” and that occurred at the Corks and Caps event on Oct. 5 in the Depot Plaza. Corks and Caps featured tastings of beer and wind from across Texas, including offerings from the soon-to-open Teddy’s Brewhaus.
Teddy’s sold more than 1,500 beers, more than 300 cheesecake desserts and more than 300 servings of gumbo, Tucker said. “That was kind of our soft debut into the community," he said. “That was a pretty big night for us.”
Tucker said he originally bought the building with the idea that it would “an overflow” on another project. “When that didn’t pan out, we just decided, let’s go ahead and take the property and turn it into a brewhouse and eatery,” Tucker said.
In the spring of 2019, Tucker and his crew began working on renovating the 1880s-era rock building. Initial plans were to demolish the portion that was added on in the 1940s, but that addition will be kept and used as part of the indoor-outdoor beer garden, Tucker said.
“This isn’t a bar,” Tucker said in an August 2018 interview. “It’s going to be a family restaurant. We want this to just be a really cool family spot.”
Tucker and his crew experienced setbacks and delays, including weather and navigating the Texas Historical Commission, in getting to the opening of the brewhaus.
“We just overcame those issues,” Tucker said. “Nobody wants to open more than me.”
Hawes, the head brewer, said she grew up in Brownwood as Olivia Hernandez before finishing high school in Bryan. Hawes went on to work at a brewery in New Braunfels and had been gone from Brownwood for 25 years before returning to work in Teddy’s Brewhaus.
Hawes said she’s excited about working at Teddy’s. “The equipment that they got is beautiful,” Hawes said.
Hawes said she hopes Teddy’s will bring “a sense of culture” and show that beer “does not mean a rowdy throw-down party where people are slamming beer.”
Tucker, who lives with his family on a ranch near May, is a former firefighter and has owned multiple businesses.
On opening night, Tucker said, “we’re going to do a simple, easy menu and we’re going to wait to see who come in. If it’s 10 people we’ll take care of them, and if it’s a hundred people we’ll take care of them.
“It’s already worth it. Do you know who our first customer was? It was Brownwood. When we went over to Corks and Caps, that was our first dollar. That night — I didn’t know what to expect. The fact that we did that much business in a short time tells me a lot. That tells me that Brownwood wants this.
“We’re just ready to do it.”
Tucker said he believes there is no higher calling in life than to be of service to others.
“And that level of service can be anything," Tucker said. "It can be me helping you change a flat on your car. It can be putting out a great plate of food, offering a venue for people to come and host events.”
Tucker said Teddy’s will be the site of a birthday party for a 90-year-old Army veteran. “Those kinds of things are special to me,” Tucker said. “And that’s what this place is about.”