What more is there to say about Barrel 21 Distillery and Dining, which opened for business Thursday, after a long anticipated wait?
Small notecard-sized pieces of paper were handed out to customers beginning last summer at Otto’s Pub and Brewery to let people know the owners would construct the new business on the dirt and gravel slab next to Otto’s.
Roger Garthwaite and Charlie Schnable, co-owners of Otto’s and Barrel 21, put out another message Wednesday night that acknowledged the anticipation of the opening.
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“We know that you have wondered ... tried to peek in the windows ... asked countless questions and visited the new website,” they said in an email to customers. “Today is your chance to get inside and see what we’ve been working on.”
The email announced the restaurant’s opening at 4 p.m. Thursday.
“For the last year we have spent countless hours crafting the perfect ambiance, finest food and most unique cocktails that State College has to offer,” the email said. “We would like to thank you for helping to make this dream come true. Your loyal and dedicated support has made it possible to expand just across the street. We look forward to serving you some new and exciting food and beverages.”
The tasting room and distillery will not open until the fall, according to the eatery’s website.
Schnable told the Centre Daily Times last summer that the restaurant would be about 6,000 square feet and would seat about 110 people — less than half the seating capacity of Otto’s. He also said the menu would be small and simple and that the distillery would make locally-sourced fruit brandies, whiskey, rum and gin.
“It will be more of a special, locally-sourced menu,” Schnable said. “That’s pretty much our focus at Otto’s, because we value other local businesses.”
The menu features nine seafood, nine meatless, 10 meat and nine sweet plates, two soups and a charcuterie. The plates are tapas, the same as small plates of food served in bars in Spain to accompany drinks, a style of dining that encourages sampling and sharing.
Garthwaite on Thursday declined to comment on the restaurant’s opening until next week.