Here & Now Brewing Co. grew out of the combination of good food, beer and company.
Owner Allaina Propst and a group of her friends transformed a 19th-century building at 645 Main St., Honesdale, into the brewery, which opened in May 2017. Since then, the brewery has flourished thanks to its use of local and seasonal ingredients and keeps finding new ways to get creative, especially when it comes to pizza.
Chef’s Table chatted with general manager Charles Fritz III about the inventive brewery and full-service restaurant.
Q: What is the history of the restaurant?
A: Here & Now was the brainchild of four good friends who got together to enjoy a good meal made with local ingredients and tasty home-brewed beers. They realized that the town of Honesdale needed an establishment that offered the same delicious array of food and drinks that they themselves were enjoying at that moment. Luckily, Allaina Propst had purchased the old Woolworth building on Main Street in the center of Honesdale’s financial district. The group began the long process of converting the 19th-century building into a fully functional (seven-barrel) brewery and full-service restaurant.
Q: How would you describe the food you serve?
A: We serve reinvented pub cuisine featuring local, seasonal and whimsical ingredients on a fluid menu. For gluten-free patrons, we offer our pizzas served over a bed of our house-made potato chips. We also have an array of vegetarian options for our pizza and are willing to accommodate our customers.
Q: What are your most-ordered menu items and why?
A: In piecing together the kitchen of Here & Now, Allaina (Propst) and (chef)Ben Cooper went to several area auctions to look at kitchen equipment. A beautiful Blodgett oven was found and returned to Honesdale in a cleaned-out horse trailer. With the oven in its new home, the pairing of beer with pizza became the focal point of the operation. To offer a different option from your typical choose-your-own-pizza-toppings establishments, our chef created an array of unique pies — with equally unique names — using local ingredients. Our specialty pizzas continue to be best-sellers because of the freshness of our house-made dough with made-from-scratch sauces, toppings and condiments.
Q: How did your menu come to be?
A: The menu has seen many changes over the years. We like to stay committed to our local, seasonal and whimsical creations. Our kitchen staff is encouraged to bring new menu ideas to the table that are based on their own research and influences. We pride ourselves on our constant creation and development, and we listen to our customers and their feedback on any of our new dishes. When it comes to our pizza, we enjoy coming up with unique names for each pie based on what the ingredients mean or make us think about. In honor of “Seinfeld,” the greatest sitcom ever made, we always start our pizza names with “The,” like how they did with each of their episodes.
Q: How would you describe the restaurant’s atmosphere?
A: A mixture of things that makes Honesdale great, such as its historic downtown architecture, cool wildlife and (a) rural lifestyle with a modern twist.
Q: What type of seating do you offer?
A: Bar, tables and a small patio area.
Q: What kinds of promotions do you offer?
A: Honesdale is famous for being the birthplace of the American railroad, and the famous Stourbridge Line still runs between Honesdale and Hawley. Anyone with a valid ticket from the train ride can stop in and get half off a pizza.
Q: Do you offer catering, event space, etc.?
A: We have a private dining room that hosts small events, but it is currently unavailable due to COVID-19.
Q: Are you offering delivery, takeout or curbside pickup?
A: We offer takeout and curbside pickup.
Q: Where do you see the restaurant headed in the future?
A: We want to continue providing beer to folks all over, which means increasing our distribution to not only Pennsylvania but into other states as well.
Laura Rysz is the features copy editor and calendar editor at The Times-Tribune and runs the Talk of the Times column, which focuses on local fundraisers and other events. She also writes Chef’s Table that profiles restaurants around the region. Additionally, Laura curates events online on AccessNEPA.com. Laura is involved in the special Mother’s Day edition and curates occasional features Marry Memories and Times Travelers. She is a graduate of Haddonfield Memorial High School, New Jersey, and earned an English professional writing degree with a minor in mass communications from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre. She also earned a certificate in Social Media Marketing from Rutgers Business School. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5228.