Dining/Drinking

Livingood's Restaurant to move, add brewery

By: DAN HEATH

PERU — The owners of Livingood’s Restaurant plan to open a brew pub and move the eatery to the former Cricket’s restaurant in the Town of Peru.

Jess Ray, who owns the Plattsburgh restaurant with her husband, Matt, said they received approval from the Town Planning Board last Wednesday. 

Interior renovations are underway, and they hope to start construction of the brewery in October.

“This is 15 years in the making,” she said. “We’ve talked about wanting to have a brew pub since we became a couple.”

Mrs. Ray said they hope to open Livingood’s Restaurant and Brewery in late November, with the brewery in operation by the end of the year or early next spring. 

She will be posting photographs of the renovation and construction process on Facebook.

That timeline could change depending on how long it takes to get approvals from the New York State Liquor Authority and U.S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

“It’s an aggressive schedule, but we’re optimistic,” Mrs. Ray said.

FAMILY FRIENDLY

They would have liked to remain in Plattsburgh, she said, but spent two-plus years trying to find a location to accommodate their expansion plans. They could have built the brewery in the basement of the present location on Margaret Street, but much of the appeal of a brew pub is the visibility of the equipment.

The new location is perfect for those plans, Mrs. Ray said. The building features a banquet room for special events, but it will be open to the public if nothing is scheduled.

She said they plan to add a pool table, video games, televisions and couches to make it family friendly.

“We want to appeal to as broad a demographic as possible,” she said.

Livingood’s presently has about 20 employees, Mrs. Ray said. That could increase to about 40 at the new location.

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday in Plattsburgh, but the owners would like to be open seven days a week in Peru. The new location could accommodate 250 people, up from 83 in Plattsburgh.

CRAFT-BREW EMPHASIS

The Peru location could also attract apres-ski traffic from Whiteface and users of the nearby snowmobile trails. In summer, there are three campgrounds nearby, as well as traffic from Interstate 87.

The Rays will continue to offer a wide variety of draft and bottled beers, with an emphasis on craft brews. As the brewery begins production, their own beers and hard ciders will be introduced to the lineup.

Mrs. Ray said they would like to have as many as 10 of their own creations on the menu. They also want to carry craft brews from other micro-breweries, such as Heady Topper from the Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, Vt.

The Rays will continue to offer many of the flagship items from the Livingood’s menu, such as burgers and calamari. As they start to include their own beer, the menu will become seasonal, with a focus on locally grown and produced fare.

“We want to delve into the farm-to-table movement,” Mrs. Ray said.

CHANCE TO GROW

The Rays have an extensive history in the brewery business. 

Mr. Ray was chief of brewery operations and Jess worked in administration at Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, Colo. Matt gained additional experience at the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery in Lake Placid.  

They have been living in Peru since 2006, a year after they opened the restaurant in Plattsburgh. The move will cut down on their commute and allow them to spend more time with their children, Mrs. Ray said.

She wants to make it clear it’s going to be business as usual at the Plattsburgh restaurant until they move, thanking all the loyal customers who made downtown a success for them.

“I understand some people will be disappointed,” she said. “We don’t take their business lightly.”

It came down to what was the best decision from both a business and family standpoint, Mrs. Ray said.

“It’s an opportunity to grow and see the vision we’ve had from the beginning come to fruition.”

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

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