Rockmill Tavern Planning German-Style Pub & Beer Garden
If Matthew Barbee can gain the approval of the German Village Commission, he plans to open Rockmill Tavern in the neighborhood next year, combining his Belgian-style beers with the traditional German foods of Juergens Bakery to create a pub and beer garden that any europhile would love. The Commission held its first meeting about the proposed restaurant and bar yesterday, and Barbee said that it went well overall.
“We had a large number of neighbors present, and some were voicing concerns about parking and noise,” he explained. “We’re going to spend some time meeting with them to give them a sense of the tone of the project, and to have them get to know our product a bit more. I personally think it’s a wonderful fit for the neighborhood, and I hope they feel the same way once they get to know it.”
Rockmill Brewery was founded in 2010 on an 11-acre farm on the outskirts of Lancaster. The brewery has become well known as a destination for beer aficionados who appreciate not only the higher end products that they create, but also the scenic farmhouse environment that serves as a tasting room. Barbee said that he hopes to bring that same level of craftsmanship to the German Village location.
“This will be a place to sample everything we’re doing at our brewery, but we’ll also have a small brew system on premises so we can experiment with one-off batches that you can only find in German Village,” he stated.
Barbee said the beers will be complimented by a simple menu of sausages, Belgian-style fries and house-made dipping sauces, while Juergens Bakery owner Rosemarie Keidel will be baking up the breads, rolls and sweets for the business using the same authentic German recipes that she’s been using for over 45 years. And while the footprint of Juergens is shrinking to make room for Rockmill, fans of the bakery will be pleased to know that it’s not going away, and that to-go purchases can still be made of the same types of bakery goods that they’re known for.
“Rosemarie is passionate about her space and baking,” said Barbee, who said that the two business owners were first introduced through a mutual friend. “We hit it off right out of the gate, and have had a lot of fun conceptualizing what we could do to work together. I wanted an in-house bakery for our brewpub concept, and she wanted to bring in a renewed energy into her space. It’s a win-win for both of us.”
Barbee added that he feels the concept will be very neighborhood-centric, and sees many of his customers likely coming from within the neighborhood, which should help to alleviate some concerns about parking when the large beer garden patio is full on a busy night. He’s also set up an arrangement with the nearby Livingston United Methodist Church for additional night time parking.
For now, the Rockmill Tavern will continue to update plans to fit the community’s feedback and work toward gaining Commission approval as well as all of the necessary business licensing.
“Opening in the springtime would be my dream scenario,” said Barbee. “When the weather turns nice in Columbus, there’s an amazing energy from all of the people coming out of hibernation. We want to participate in that.”