311 Drafthouse opens its doors today

By Belinda Paschal

December 12, 2013

Belinda M. Paschal

Staff Writer


PIQUA — Friday the 13th is legendary as being a day of bad luck, but two Piqua business owners are hoping it will bring good fortune to their new bar and grill.

311 Drafthouse, the labor of love of Greg and Kathleen Wyatt, will open today at 10 a.m. with Happy Hour specials throughout the day. Visitors to the new establishment can enjoy $3 well drinks, $1.50 domestic pints and a dollar off glasses of wine.

Regular opening hours will be from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday (with the kitchen closing at 11 p.m.); and 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday.

If there’s one thing the Wyatts have learned in the six months they’ve spent renovating the former Zender’s building at 311 N. Main St., it’s that it takes a village to build a business.

“You can’t do it all alone,” Greg said. “It takes a whole community. We’ve had help from people who want us to succeed.”

The Wyatts, who reside in Xenia, have a long thank-you list of Piqua folks, including but not limited to Lorna Swisher of Mainstreet Piqua, City Planner Chris Schmiesing, Assistant City Manager for Development Bill Murphy, Sam Robinson of Murray Wells Wendeln & Robinson CPAs, Inc. and their landlord, Matt Arnovitz.

The couple also is grateful for the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce, which accepted the applications that led to the Wyatts hiring some 35 employees for the drafthouse, according to 311’s General Manager Brian Windle.

“Absolutely everyone we’ve talked to has this outgoing, positive attitude,” Greg said.

Since beginning work on the 4,300-square-foot building on July 4, the Wyatts have spent nearly seven days a week getting it ready for today’s grand opening, sometimes putting in 16-17 hours a day.

From their hard work, bare beams and wooden planks have given way to cozy-feeling, dark-wooded rooms, including one with a fireplace, as well as an ample bar capable of seating at least 30 people.

Employees of 311 invited their friends and family Thursday evening for a trial run of what a regular will be like at the bar. “They (got) to sample test cooking by our kitchen manager, Ronny Westfall and the kitchen staff,” Kathleen said.

The menu at 311 will feature a variety of appetizers including beer cheese fondue, as well as an assortment of brats, burgers, pizza, sandwiches, paninis, soups, salads and daily specials.

In addition to numerous domestic beers, the bar will offer a wide selection of craft beers, as well as wine by the glass and bottle.

“We’ll have ambient music playing We hope to eventually have live music, small ensembles playing casual music,” Greg said. “We’d like to also do music that fits different events; for example, having a pianist for a wine-tasting event.”

A New Year’s Eve party also is on the Wyatts’ wish list, which is full of ideas to draw customers and work with other local businesses. But, they said, those things will come in time and they’re willing to be patient. After all, the work doesn’t end when the doors of 311 open.

“We look forward to phase two,” Kathleen said. “I don’t think the hard work is done yet. We now have a reputation to uphold. We want to be a spot people from other places will want to come to see.”