Business Class Restaurant/Pub

A large percentage of communities seeking to generate interest from young people come to the same conclusion: They need a brewery. While a full-production brewery is likely too large an investment for Greene County at present, a brew pub would be an optimal fit.

In addition, community members also would like to have a business-class restaurant in their town. To be most effective, the brew pub and restaurant should be combined into one facility.

Jefferson is fortunate in that there are as many as five possible sites that show potential as locations for restaurants. The community has an extremely active and engaged Main Street Iowa Program (Jefferson Matters) and a highly vested citizenry. There are also several unique tourism draws including its locale as a trailhead for cyclists and the recently enhanced Mahanay Bell Tower. These, along with the community’s status as a county seat, will all be key contributors in Jefferson’s quest to attract a new restaurant operator into the community.

After reviewing potential sites, community demographics and regional tastes, as well as overall economic and restaurant industry trends, a tap room or brewpub model, rather full-scale microbrewery, along with gastropub-style cuisine holds the greatest potential for success in Jefferson. This approach stands to expand the appeal of the downtown to new hospitality patrons as well as locals.

There are several buildings which could potentially house this type of establishment. Considerations draw from both location and overall “vibe.” When a location is finalized, the space will be gutted, redesigned, and updated to serve as a taproom and gastropub with an outdoor service/patio space.

From the moment guests enter the Bell Tower Brewpub, they will feel at ease. The décor will be bar and grill “back to the basics,” with exposed brick and potentially remnant walls, high industrial exposed raw space ceilings, wood floors, and large windows that flood in natural light. Wall décor will be minimal, with local images or mementos that tell the story of the Bell Tower, promote bicycling, or celebrate craft beer. There will be seating for 80+ with an eclectic mix of simple, comfortable tables and chairs, booths, and a seated bar, making it possible to accommodate large and small groups. A partially exposed kitchen will add to the ambiance and charm, making patrons feel more connected to the chef/owner and his or her story. A seasonal patio area will have umbrella decorated tables and self-standing heaters for use during cool evenings. A large bike rack will welcome cyclists and be in full view of the patio.

Because it will feature craft beers and offer a “gastropub” menu (modern takes on classic bar food), the Bell Tower Brewpub will fulfill the expressed desires of locals and take advantage of current state and national food and beverage trends. Gastropubs play well with Iowa culinary tastes because, by definition, they offer an unexpected twist on classic foods. The Bell Tower Brewpub also will offer tapas worthy of a fine dining establishment but priced for the upscale casual environment of a small town brewpub.

The average table check in the restaurant will be $20 per person. This assumes a 60/40 percent alcohol to food mix. The price of the average tapas or small plate will be $6, craft beers $6, and signature cocktails $6 to $8. Wines by the glass will be $5 to $9.

  • Opening Capital: $675,700
  • 120 Seats at $16,310 per seat
  • $1,957,176 Annual Sales
  • $1,123,612 Prime Cost

Action Steps

Finalize Business Plan by adding Personal Decisions

Amanda Bills and Addi Meyer

Take business plan created in this plan and personalize it to fit the restaurant you want to have.

Q4 2017

Acquire Building and Investment, Design Space

Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Home State Bank, Investors and Amanda/Addi

Work with professional services to take the plan we created and price out all projects/concepts. Acquire property either as long-term lease (at least 10 years) or purchase. Purchase is recommended based on the likely amount of capital investment. Work with Home State Bank for financing, and look to local community for up-front investment of 25%.

Q1 2018

Begin Build Out and Hire Opening Staff


Begin construction. Determine if Historic Tax Credits* are applicable, and if so, apply. Hire opening front of house (FOH) and back of house (BOH staff). Go heavy on FOH staff to weed out the best staff and ensure enough help for opening weeks. Work with professional to train FOH staff.

Q2 – Q3 2018

Opening and Marketing Campaign

Entire Restaurant Staff

Push marketing campaign out throughout buildout. Create website and show construction progress in pics and video. Plan for at least 4 soft openings with family/friends invited. Budget for these events. Good luck – can’t wait to eat there!

Q3 or Q4 2018