Craftsman brings Two Brothers brews to new level in downtown Naperville

 
 
Updated 12/7/2016 10:47 AM
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  • Barista Alie Walters takes notes in the cafe on the first floor of The Craftsman by Two Brothers in downtown Naperville, where a Himalayan salt drying room on the right cures meats in-house. The three-story restaurant hosted its grand opening last weekend.

      Barista Alie Walters takes notes in the cafe on the first floor of The Craftsman by Two Brothers in downtown Naperville, where a Himalayan salt drying room on the right cures meats in-house. The three-story restaurant hosted its grand opening last weekend. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • The Craftsman by Two Brothers in downtown Naperville features a bar, cafe and restaurant selling Two Brothers' beer and coffee.

      The Craftsman by Two Brothers in downtown Naperville features a bar, cafe and restaurant selling Two Brothers' beer and coffee. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • At 16 W. Jefferson Ave. in downtown Naperville, The Craftsman by Two Brothers has a cafe, restaurant and rooftop bar -- but it's the first Two Brothers venture not to have a brewery on site.

      At 16 W. Jefferson Ave. in downtown Naperville, The Craftsman by Two Brothers has a cafe, restaurant and rooftop bar -- but it's the first Two Brothers venture not to have a brewery on site. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Jason Ebel, left and his brother Jim Ebel thank Naperville leaders, including Mayor Steve Chirico, right, as the Craftsman by Two Brothers hosts a ribbon-cutting to show off its renovated space at 16 W. Jefferson Ave. and its new offerings of beer, coffee and cuisine.

      Jason Ebel, left and his brother Jim Ebel thank Naperville leaders, including Mayor Steve Chirico, right, as the Craftsman by Two Brothers hosts a ribbon-cutting to show off its renovated space at 16 W. Jefferson Ave. and its new offerings of beer, coffee and cuisine. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Beer, coffee, cocktails and cuisine, all crafted, all original. An antique brick exterior, a rooftop bar, an open and bright indoor space.

Not bad for two dudes who just wanted to brew some beer when they got their start.

This is the scene at The Craftsman by Two Brothers, a three-story cafe, restaurant and cocktail bar at 16 W. Jefferson Ave. in downtown Naperville. Operated by Warrenville-based Two Brothers Artisan Brewing, the dining destination is the first of the company's ventures not to contain a brewery on site.

And that's been a departure -- but a good one, said Jason Ebel, who cofounded the business with his brother, Jim. The company is using the new site to expand and diversify what Two Brothers can be.

"People don't expect the level of detail and the caliber of food that we're putting out there," Ebel said. "They expect Two Brothers to be more of a pub, and this is more elevated."

Homemade pastas and house-aged steaks are some of the dishes surprising diners who have visited during the restaurant's first few weeks. But the hot spot at The Craftsman depends on the hour.

The Market Cafe on the first floor opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 10 or 11 p.m., depending on the day, selling Two Brothers coffee, juices, smoothies, pastries, breakfast bowls, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, kids meals, and cheeses and meats cured in a room with a floor-to-ceiling Himalayan salt wall.

Later, the Modern Tavern on the second floor and the Third Floor, a cocktail bar named for its elevation, heat up when they open at 5 p.m. The tavern is also open for brunch at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

"This restaurant focuses very hard on locally sourced products," Ebel said. "Whether it's the fish from Wisconsin or the meat from Illinois, we're focusing on locally sourced items within 200 miles of the restaurant."

The same holds true for the beers, which aren't only Two Brothers varieties, but "a nice guest list of our friends in the industry," Ebel said.

Two Brothers made major structural renovations to the three-story building estimated to be about 110 years old, including shoring it up with new concrete piers and steel supports. But the classic brick exterior remains, giving it charm, Ebel said.

The space has evolved over its life span, recently holding the Wise Boxer Pour House and, before that, BlackFinn American Saloon.

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