Maneuvering through an unprecedented time like a pandemic has looked a bit different for everyone, and for Iron Hill Brewery in Center City, the past few months have held a lot of changes in terms of how the hotspot served the city.
At first, the popular eatery handled the pandemic situation by beginning to offer grocery bundles and craft meal kits featuring everything from a DIY steak dinner, pizza for 4, plus burger and chicken sandwich meals. Then, Iron Hill re-vamped their take-out and delivery options and even began offering different specials such as growlers to go for Philadelphians who were looking to still make their time at home special. Now, with outdoor dining in full swing in the City of Brotherly Love, the establishment has finally opened up its patio with expanded seating in the East Market location of Center City along with beer tents available for quick walk up service on Friday evenings, and Saturday and Sunday.
But getting there did take some time.
“The pandemic was a challenging time for Iron Hill, and the entire restaurant and hospitality industry as a whole,” says Warren Sewell, regional manager at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant. “We had to be very flexible and creative in the ways we went about our day to day operations. Our entire service model changed overnight to focus on curbside and takeout only. Due to the change in guest traffic and not having the ability to provide dine-in service, our staffing levels lowered extremely. The employees that continued to work for Iron Hill were trained thoroughly in new and more focused sanitation processes to ensure both their safety and the safety of our guests.”
Adapting to circumstances proved to ring true when taking another look at their menu as well. With reopening fully on the horizon (although indoor dining is still a bit of time away), the new menu offers a fresh take on the popular hotspot, with some classic favorites as well. All of this will also help keep things financially stable for Iron Hill as well.
“We needed to be cognizant of continuing to provide some Iron Hill staples that our fans love, but also kept a close eye on how many menu items we had available to manage our costs effectively at the same time,” adds Sewell. “We even began to offer our Craft Market Kits to provide our guests grocery items at cost to offer another option than fighting the lines at grocery stores etc. It also gave our guests a place to go that they have grown to trust and feel safe. Our team members worked (and continue to work) very hard during this unprecedented time. We have maintained operations because of our great employees and the support of our guests. We are very grateful for them both.”
The new menu items include some fresh choices that customers have never seen before including a fried chicken sandwich ($13.70), served with a brand new-house made IPA sriracha ranch sauce, and the chicken and baby back ribs ($19.30), featuring whole chicken wings in a spicy Vienna Red Lager barbecue sauce and a half rack of ribs served in a Bedotter Ale barbecue glaze. The re-vamped offerings at the Center City location include some old favorites as well, such as hearth-baked pizzas (think traditional, margherita, seven vegetable and more) tacos (think carne asada and buffalo cauliflower) and more. On top of it all, Iron Hill is also offering a Taco Tuesday special with a la carte tacos for $5 each—all menu items are also available for take-out and delivery across all Iron Hill locations.
Drink-wise, the brewery is still pumping out plenty of amazing options for their recent outdoor dining reopening. According to the release, the opening tap list in Center City will include Iron Hill favorites like the Philly Special IPA and Lavender Tripel, as well as some new additions like Homestead, a citrusy Farmhouse Ale, The New Normal, a West Coast-style IPA and Local Lager—the newest low-calorie lager light in body, calories and bitterness, but heavy on flavor. Complying with local and state ordinances, guests must purchase food in order to enjoy on-site alcohol consumption.
“Reopening, first and foremost, gives us the opportunity to bring back some of our employees to work in Center City,” says Sewell. “It is very meaningful to get people back to their jobs and a little closer to “normal.” Closing the doors to one of our highest volume restaurants in the brand was a difficult decision to make at the beginning stages of the pandemic.
“Getting our team back to the restaurant and back into the swing of things was a great feeling. We truly enjoy being there for our guests and providing our service. Reopening, even in a limited capacity, is a step in the right direction. Our team is back in action doing what they love. Seeing the energy and smiles (behind the masks of course) is a great feeling. We are happy to be reopening and look forward to indoor dining soon. We have recently launched a new menu and have some exciting new items for our guests to try out. As always, we’ve got a great beer list for them too.”
Iron Hill Brewery’s hours are Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Reservations are required. For more information, visit ironhillbrewery.com