CEDAR FALLS – The Brass Tap, which began in Tampa, Fla., in 2012 and has since expanded to 22 states, has expectations of crossing the 50-unit milestone this year. Now, thanks to two local brothers, the franchise will add Iowa to its locations list.
James and Walter Burtis originally wanted to open a location in Waterloo, where they spent most of their childhoods, but instead were thrilled to claim a spot on Main Street that previously housed Café Dué.
As the planning and renovations continue, the brothers hope to officially open the restaurant and bar by the end of October.
“We think this will be a great fit for this area and it’s something that’s unique and isn’t an overdone concept,” said Walter, a certified chef who will prepare the food. “We are very ambitious and believe that every Brass Tap will help any community and promote their local businesses.”
Once open, the Brass Tap will feature nearly 60 craft beers on tap from various Iowa breweries, which the brothers are still researching. Based on local preferences, they plan to have more than 200 bottled beer options, wines, spirits and a full liquor bar.
It will be “more upscale than the traditional pub,” with a menu consisting of tacos, pizza, gliders and salads. However, the regular menu also will be accompanied by a craft beer menu which pairs together different entrées and drinks for the ultimate dining experience.
Guests also will be able to hear live music or participate in karaoke and trivia games. Additionally, Walter said they hope to promote a local butcher by having a meat or coupon raffle among other giveaways and activities. “A huge ambition is that we will always have something going on every weekend.”
However, none of this will be possible without the renovations currently being made with the help of Levi Architecture. Together, the group is transforming the former café into a warm environment with a new state-of-the-art bar and waste prevention technology, coolers and tapsters.
Because each Brass Tap location is separately run, each one features a different theme and vibe. The brothers visited various other locations, such as those in Milwaukee and Tampa, to help with creating their own atmosphere.
“The Brass Tap will wine and dine you if you show any interest in adding a location to their franchise. They’re doing their research by getting you down there to see if they actually want to do business with you,” James said. “Our environment will include stuff for the whole family.”
Alongside the built-in patio with comfortable outdoor seating and a fake fire pit, the brothers’ ultimate goal is, instead of walking in and seeing just a bar, families will assume it is solely a family-run restaurant.
That’s how it’s done in Tampa, and the Burtis brothers hope to follow the example of the original creators while simultaneously bringing something truly unique and special to their home community.
“We want to help expand the Iowa market and promote its breweries,” Walter said. “We cannot wait to serve the Cedar Valley.”