Don’t tell Medford's Bill Honeycutt he won’t succeed with his new restaurant in Newtonville.
“The more people that tell me that nothing has succeeded here, the more desire I have to prove them wrong,” said Honeycutt during an interview with Waltham Patch last week.
Honeycutt is aiming to open “Brewer’s Coalition,” pub at 344 Walnut St. on Aug. 1, hopefully starting a new successful chapter for a corner of the city that has seen many prior restaurants close.
Honeycutt, a longtime restaurateur, currently owns the two locations of John Brewer’s Tavern in and .
The new restaurant will be a spinoff of sorts of the other two locations. Honeycutt said the concept is to integrate the local community with the craft beer culture, which he plans to prominently feature in the new location. Various craft beers, including many New England types, will be available and the restaurant will even have beer-based foods, Honeycutt said.
The craft beer theme will be familiar for that Walnut Street spot; one of the site's previous tenants, The Newtonville Times, was actually a satellite location for another Waltham brewpub, Watch City Brewery.
“People are really into craft beers, especially around here,” Honeycutt said.
The area is ripe for a new restaurant, especially one that will attract people to the typically area that is typically dormant after 9 p.m. Before then, the site has seen many restaurants come and go.
“If you come down here at night right now, there is nothing going on. And the reason for that is, there is no reason to come to Newtonville at night,” Honeycutt said.
Brewer’s Coalition will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, it will open at 10 a.m. and close at 1 a.m. On Sundays, the hours will be 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
“I think that the village needs a local gathering [place] and this is going to be that,” Honeycutt said as he sat in the Newton’s locations space, currently undergoing renovations.
Honeycutt believes the new restaurant will change that by attract people from a large base of potential customers living in the immediate area.
The new Newton venture is the latest chapter in Honeycutt’s long and successful restaurant career. He entered the business at 17 when he landed a job as a cleaner at the Bull & Finch pub in Boston (before it became known as the “” bar featured in the hit television show). From there, he eventually became the general manager and vice president as the bar became popular during Cheer’s run. Honeycutt left the bar in 1998 to open his Waltham restaurant. He later opened the Malden location in 2008.
“I’m fifty. I’m not about to retire,” said Honeycutt when asked why he would expand his business when he already has two successful locations. “If you are not moving forward… you're moving backwards.”
The Medford resident said he also wants to give his staff the chance to grow.
With only a few weeks until his planned opening, Honeycutt is trying to complete renovations and finalize plans for the formal opening. The space has been completely gutted and dark wood paneling has been installed on the walls. Similarly colored tables and chairs have also been brought in as well as a new beer-dispensing system. New art and decorations are hanging, some of which Honeycutt said he purchased at local sales.
To give his staff practice before opening, Honeycutt said he plans to hold several free open houses where customers can get food free but are invited to donate to Pediatric Hematology & Oncology Unit of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The medical unit previously treated Honeycutt’s son, a five-year cancer survivor, for Hodgkin’s disease.
If all works out well, customers will soon be streaming into the new restaurant and bringing a nightlife of sorts to the village.
“I’m just confident we can pull it off,” Honeycutt said.