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Great Revivalist Brew Lab ready for winter and Pandemic mandates

by Claudia Loucks correspondent
Rachel Heise, general manger of the Great Revivalist Brew Lab, is shown in one of the six heated greenhouses available for outdoor dining during the winter months. Photo by Claudia Loucks

The Great Revivalist Brew Lab in Geneseo is prepared to stay open during winter months should the no in-person mandate remain in place through the upcoming cooler temperatures. Curbside pickup also is available.

The Great Revivalist, formerly known as Lionstone Brewery, was sold to Richard Schwab in March of this year, just days before the pandemic, according to Rachel Heise, general manager of the Great Revivalist.

She said COVID-19 pandemic is been the biggest hurdle the business has had to face, but added that she believes the staff is ready for business in spite of the coronavirus.

The restaurant and brewery at 1225 South Oakwood Ave. in Geneseo has been completely renovated, inside and outside, and currently is in the final stages of completing outdoor dining on a 25 ft. by 65 ft. deck which has been added at the west side of the building.

“We first had tables on the deck when the weather was nice and we have now added six greenhouses for seating through the winter months,” Heise said.

There are three large greenhouses, large enough to seat six to eight people and three additional greenhouses to seat 3 to 4 people. Tables from inside the Brew Lab have been moved to inside the greenhouses and each greenhouse is lighted, has its own electric fireplace as well as outlets to plug in phones or computers.

“We have used reclaimed barn wood for the beams and railings on the deck,” Heise said.

The greenhouses are available to eat in on a first-come, first- serve basis, Heise said…”There is no extra charge to eat in a greenhouse if they aren’t in use, but there is a $20 fee to reserve one of the greenhouses,” she said.

In addition to the greenhouses, there is additional seating in an authentic grain bin at the south end of the deck which has a roof and is enclosed on three sides, with vinyl added to the open side to keep retain the heat from the electric fireplaces.

Heise said the grain bin was brought to the Brew Lab from a farm in Iowa.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew we had to find ways to remain open so we adjusted our sails to what was happening and we knew we had to find some type of sheltered seating outside for us to get through the winter.

During the summer months, when the business was first closed to in-person dining, the staff first moved tables from inside to a patio area on the south side of the building…”We built a white picket fence around the area and later built six cedar picnic tables and placed them on gravel bases,” Heise said.

And it isn’t just the outside of the Brew Lab that has a new look…

”We have Picasso paintings in our inside hallway and we have added chalk boards that showcase our tap list, beverages and food items.”

A shuffle board game and Dagz table have been added inside and the décor features a combination of the “old and the new” with vintage coolers and kegs.

“We have tried to showcase old items yet make us look new at the same time,” Heise said.

Menu items include a variety of hand-held sandwiches, pizza, salads and appetizers in addition to brewed beers and brewed sodas. Heise said all sodas are made with pure cane sugar and are caffeine free. There is also a kid’s menu.

The Revivalist Brew Lab employs 26 employees, some part-time and others full time. Business hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily with the bar open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more information, call the Brew Lab at 309-944-5466.

Rachel Heise, general manger of the Great Revivalist Brew Lab, stands at the entrance to the grain bin located on the deck at the Great Revivalist Brew Lab. The grain bin offers another choice for outside dining as it has a roof and is enclosed on three sides, with vinyl added to the open side to retain the heat from the electric fireplaces. Photo by Claudia Loucks