American Craft Aleworks, a specialty brewery with a focus on handcrafted beers featuring flavors inspired by the culinary world will open on Friday, May 17. The 200-seat restaurant is located at 200 Clematis Street at the site of the former Bar Louie’s in the Citizen’s Building, built in 1923, in downtown West Palm Beach. It will feature a brewery, two full bars, a lounge and outdoor seating. The “speakeasy” themed interior features Chicago bricks, ironwork, and Prohibition-era artwork, including a wall-sized image of Clematis Street from the early 1920s.
The executive chef is Samantha Kittay who joins the restaurant from Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, where she rose from line cook to sous chef at the Charlotte, North Carolina WP Kitchen & Bar. Locally, she served as sous chef at Prezzo in Boca Raton.
The menu will use locally sourced produce, meats and seafood, seasonally. The menu will feature large plates including sweet potato waffles with crispy duck, grilled center cut Pork Chop, whisky-glazed Atlantic Salmon, as well as a variety of craft burgers and sandwiches. Small plates include beet-pickled deviled eggs, chargrilled octopus with spiced chickpeas, truffle parmesan fries, southern boiled spice peanuts, Bavarian style Dutch pretzel, blistered shishito peppers, garlic roasted mussels with prosciutto, smoked chargrilled chicken wings, and a variety of salads with locally-sourced produce.
The general manager/managing partner is Franklin Villarroel who has served in general manager positions in Fort Lauderdale restaurants Rok Burger and Taco Craft and oversaw the re-branding of Shooters.
American Craft Aleworks’ owner is Rich Simon of Fort Lauderdale who has owned and managed restaurants in the area for more than 20 years and whose parents owned a pizzeria in Central Florida. A native of Chicago, Rich attended the University of Central Florida. He is a fan of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears and the UCF Knights.
The head brewer for American Craft Aleworks is Erik Miller, son of a master cheese maker who developed a passion for working at the intersection of food, science, and art. While spending several years in graduate school he began home brewing with a friend and was hooked on the craft of brewing beer. This led Erik to start a career as a professional brewer in Cleveland, Ohio in 2016. Fast forward three years: Erik has relocated to West Palm and will be brewing on a 10-barrel system producing fresh crisp lagers, roasty porters, hazy IPAs, fruited Berliners, and more.
The full bar will include craft Prohibition-inspired cocktails including Bathtub Gin, French 75, and Sazarac. The restaurant will also offer a curated wine program. The kitchen will feature a smoker for its meats.
American Craft Kitchen will offer a variety of entertainment, including local DJs, live music, trivia and more. The lounge will also feature vintage video games.
The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner daily and weekend brunch. Hours are Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 a.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.