At our first official meeting to discuss opening a coffee shop, the Corley's rounded out the team by inviting their friends Scott & Jana Clark (the Engineer & Interior Decorator) to come dream with us. So here we were, a heart surgeon, a musician, a pastor, a teacher, an engineer, an interior designer, a non-profit executive, and a mother of 6; all there to dream about opening up a coffee shop in Fort Worth. We met for hours dreaming about what it would be like, what it would look like, what we would serve, and where it should be. But the biggest part of our conversations, and what was the most exciting to all of us, was that we really wanted BREWED to be a place that blessed the city and people of Fort Worth. We wanted it to be a business that would give back to help non-profits, we wanted it to be a place that was warm and inviting where people would feel God's love when they were there. We wanted it to be a place where people from all walks of life would feel welcome and experience a sense of community. After the meeting we spent some time praying and we all asked God that if he was behind this idea, he would make it a reality and open the doors.
We started looking for a location and we continued to meet once a month for almost 2 years. We made plans, we dreamt, and we continued to pray for direction and favor. We found a location that we thought was perfect, but the landlord did not want to take the risk on 4 couples with no experience. We became discouraged and thought maybe BREWED was not meant to be. But what we thought to be a closed door was God protecting us from a location that would have been a disaster, because he had a better place in mind. Joey and I met after we got the bad news that location did not work and we both felt like maybe we should take a risk and try to find something on the Near Southside of Fort Worth on Magnolia Ave. At the time Magnolia was an area that had seen better days, but was an underground hub for artists and the counter culture of Fort Worth.
I hit the streets and found an old empty 1950's office building on the corner of Magnolia Ave & Hemphill. New restaurants had begun to pop up on Magnolia Ave, but this was pretty far down the street from any of the other new developments. But there was something magic about the spot and after showing it to the rest of the team, we felt like it had great potential and that it could one day be the center for pushing new development down Magnolia. I got connected with the owner of the building and pitched him our crazy idea of a new type of coffee shop. He was skeptical at first, but luckily took a leap of faith on us and said the building was ours if we could handle the construction of turning an old ugly 1950's office space into a place that people would actually want to visit.
The space was a whopping 4,000ft and much bigger than we had initially planned on. It seemed too large for a neighborhood coffee shop, so we started brainstorming about what it would look like to also maybe do desserts and also pastries. We hired a local architect to come up with some plans to add a kitchen to the building, but when we got the plans back and saw the construction costs back for our new "pastry kitchen", we were shocked. Let me let you in on a little restaurant industry secret, commercial kitchens are freaking expensive. Because it was going to be so much money to install a kitchen, we decided that we might as well serve a full menu to take advantage of what we were building and help offset the cost. It was at that moment, when we said yes to the kitchen, that BREWED became something bigger than we had ever imagined. We were now going to open up a coffee shop, pub, & full service restaurant.
It took us 9 months of construction, during which we added windows, changed walls, installed a kitchen, added old bricks (salvaged from a 1920's Chicago warehouse), put in a bar and ran tap lines, and completely transformed the space.