The owners of Moo & Brew in Plaza Midwood describe the new beer and burger spot as a comfortable joint that will preserve the flavor of the funky neighborhood.
The restaurant is in the old Joe Hoopers location at 1300 Central Ave., and it’s supposed to open sometime in March.
“We’re trying to bring a critical mass to this area,” said Zach Current, who bought the bar/restaurant with business partner Ken Thomas last fall.
The two are no strangers to the area: Current lives three blocks away, and Thomas’ first paying job as a kid was mowing nearby Plaza Midwood lawns.
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Current and Thomas are also friends with the owners of other nearby businesses, like those at the Thirsty Beaver. They plan to partner with Lunchbox Records to have events like vinyl nights at Moo & Brew, and with local artists such as Matt Hooker and Matt Moore to decorate the bar with some of their work.
“We’re just Charlotte guys doing Charlotte (stuff),” Current said.
The new Plaza Midwood spot is the brick-and-mortar version of the Moo & Brew Fest that Thomas partnered with Creative Loafing to launch last year.
As its name implies, Moo & Brew’s staples will be beer and burgers. It’ll have 32 taps, with “strong local representation,” Thomas said. It will also have Southern and Midwestern-inspired homemade burgers served on buns from Charlotte’s King’s Bakery.
Current added that Moo & Brew will have a “really strong pickling program” and a “bacon program” to complement the burgers.
Current and Thomas are currently working to give the joint a new look: Long windows that can be raised will replace the wall behind the bar, giving the place an open feel that connects the outside to the inside. The patio will be covered, new furniture will be installed and fresh new signage will be added.
They’ve kept the bar open since Joe Hooper’s closed, and have operated it as The Neighborhood Pub. That sign will soon come down, and new, retro-looking Moo & Brew signage will go up.
The two say Moo & Brew will also be an “authentic” UNC sports bar – Current is a graduate of UNC Charlotte, and Thomas is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill. Moo & Brew will also be Panthers game-watch bar.
The owners put out a teaser website in November to generate buzz on www.itsnotacondo.com, an attempt to quell neighbors’ fear of even more multifamily housing coming in.
Current, a former operator of several Fuel Pizzas, will be the restaurant’s operating partner, managing day-to-day operations. Thomas remains the vice president of entertainment at the Ark Group, which developed the newly renamed AvidXchange Music Factory.