Housed in a former church on the corner of Coldwater and Union Chapel roads, teds market is in the final stages of another conversion: from neighborhood grocery store to family-friendly beer hall.
While the change might seem like a leap, owner Brian Hench describes the process as “an evolution.” After all, teds market hasn’t had to close its door through any of the changes.
So how does a grocery store become a beer hall? The concepts sound as different as day and night, but it has been a smooth transition, Hench said. And it hasn’t happened overnight.
Hench opened teds market about a year and a half ago as a neighborhood grocery store with a deli and coffee bar, with a small seating area on the ground floor and a 21-and-over wine bar in the lower level.
The wine bar was a hit, but the grocery store was not as successful as he had hoped. In addition, the upstairs seating area kept getting bigger, people were demanding more restaurant-style food and parents wanted a space that they could take their kids and still enjoy a glass of wine or a pint of beer.
“With the wine bar downstairs being 21 and over, there were a number of people asking for a more family-friendly venue where they would be able to have their entire family join them,” he said.
It didn’t take him long to realize that the grocery store was getting in the way of something better.
“We decided that it was time to go in one direction and one direction only,” he said.
And that direction was a family-friendly beer hall.
A space for all ages
Upon completion, the restaurant will house long, wooden, community-style tables where families can share a meal, adults can enjoy an alcoholic beverage and patrons can watch sports on big screen TVs.
On one end of the long room, a stage is being constructed for live entertainment and events. The space used to be a church, so it should lend itself to great acoustics, Hench said.
On the other end, a bar area is partitioned off for patrons 21 and older with 16 beers on tap and more than 50 bottled varieties. The outdoor space will include a beer garden.
Hench envisions a community-centric, festive vibe. It’s a concept that’s partly inspired by his travels. After graduation, he worked as an engineer and traveled around the world for work. “I got to grab a beer in a lot of different places,” he said.
The beer halls of Germany made a special impression on him. “They’re big, and they’re open and there are lots of people just enjoying each other’s company,” he said. “You can sit down next to a complete stranger and have a discussion with them. It was a fun, community environment, and I like that idea.”
During the day, teds market offers craft beer, lunch sandwiches and a coffee bar that serves gelato and select baked goods. In the evenings, the restaurant offers a wider menu selection including burgers, brats, pizza and wings.
teds market is known for its quality baked goods, Hench said. While it will continue baking for in-house use, baked items will be available for retail sale Saturdays only.
The downstairs wine bar will remain a 21-and-older venue open Thursday through Saturday in the evening with a quieter, more intimate, lounge-like feeling.
Making it work
Hench credits the smooth transition to the creativity of the 35-person staff.
“We’re always looking for ways to make this place a little better,” he said.
He seems to have brought the same qualities that make a great engineer to the restaurant business: a desire to figure things out, creativity, mechanical skills, an ability to find innovative solutions and a knack for repurposing materials.
He and the staff made the most of the furniture at teds market, much of it from reclaimed wood. Some of the tables were built with spare pieces that were left over from a flooring project. The glass cases behind the bar containing beer and wine used to be the dairy cooler.
When they had to have 16 trees cut down in order to put in a driveway off Union Chapel Road, they had the wood cut into boards and used the lumber to build tables and the front of the upstairs bar. Hench has been chopping the rest of it for the wood-burning fireplace in teds wine bar.
“If we’re forced to cut down a tree, we’re going to find a way to use it,” he said.
Ready for business
Hench expects the entire space to be fully operational by late February. He’s holding off celebrating a grand opening until the beginning of March.
In the meantime, teds market and teds wine bar are still open for business.
As for the name, teds market is named after Hench’s grandfather who opened a chain of supermarkets in Ohio.
“Somebody would have to come up with something really good” for him to consider changing it. Besides the cost and hassle of rebranding, teds market has a story. And, for now, he’s sticking to it.