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Bellefontaine to get craft brewery, steak house

A decades-old Bellefontaine building that was built as a family-oriented steak house will go back to its roots when new owners open the operation later this year.

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Dan Stinebaugh holds a banner for the Chops & Hops Brew Haus steak house and craft brewery he will open at 1125 S. Main St. later this year. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)

And beer lovers will get a taste of Bellefontaine’s first locally-made craft beer, which will be the other featured item in the new Chops & Hops Brew Haus lineup.

Dan Stinebaugh, who owns and operates Woody’s Diner at Indian Lake and Wapakoneta along with his brother, Tom Stinebaugh, said he will open the new restaurant by as early as June at 1125 S. Main St.

“We want this to be a family atmosphere even though we will have a brewery,” Dan Stinebaugh said. “We visited a lot of breweries in California and it seems the most successful ones are family-oriented. And we think Bellefontaine is a good place to start out.”

The brothers have already selected several pieces of specialty beer-brewing equipment, which will allow them to brew five 150-gallon batches of beer at a time, and the items are expected to arrive in the near future, Mr. Stinebaugh said.

When Chops & Hops opens, the plan is to offer five different house brews, including light and dark lagers, an India pale ale, a porter and a seasonal beer, along with 10 other beers on draft.

“We will have something for everyone’s taste,” Mr. Stinebaugh said, noting that the beer-brewing equipment will be enclosed in a glass area that will be visible to diners.

And the menu will feature a selection of steaks and other American cuisine, such as chicken, pork chops, fresh fish and a selection of salads.

“Everything will be made fresh to order,” the restaurateur said. “We want to offer healthier dining, so we will try to stay away from fryer foods as much as possible.”

While it will not be a Woody’s, the Ohio State theme that makes the Woody’s locations popular will carry through with the interior decor.

“We thought about making it a craft brew theme, but we thought we would stick with the Ohio State theme like our other restaurants,” Mr. Stinebaugh said.

The building, which is now owned by developer Jason Duff, has had a successful past as a steak restaurant.

It was built in 1973 by the late Freda Taylor’s Tazwell Corp. and operated by Carl and Gale Fogelsong as a Pardner’s Steak House. The Fogelsongs changed the restaurant to a Ponderosa Steak House in 1987.

In 1998, Wing Enterprises Inc. bought the building and converted it into the sports bar Wingers, which closed in 2012.

Mr. Duff, who spent the past year improving the exterior and aggressively marketing the property, said he is pleased that the Stinebaughs chose the brewery and steak house option.

“What’s exciting is that this will keep the momentum going to attract quality businesses to Bellefontaine and enhance the quality of life for residents,” he said. “This is a different and distinct concept that will create a rising tide so Bellefontaine can be considered a destination.”

Mr. Stinebaugh said Chops & Hops will be open for lunch beginning at 11 a.m. seven days a week, but closing times will be determined as the restaurant begins operating.

His goal is to open by June.

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