Local businessman Chris Conneen loves Brevard County. Just look at the name of his latest restaurant — 28 North Gastropub.
"The name is inspired by Brevard’s latitude line on the map. We want to be a local-minded business with locally grown products for our products and services. Our menu will be a fresh, farm-to-table, chef-curated type of menu.’’
Conneen also owns Pizza Gallery & Grill, which will celebrate its 29th anniversary on Nov. 3.
28 North Gastropub, which is scheduled to open in December, will be next door to Pizza Gallery & Grill. The roomy location will have high ceilings, large windows and a wrap-around patio with the flexibility to expand during comfortable days since it will have garage-type doors on part of the layout.
"I want to give props to the Space Coast Economic Development Commission,’’ said the 51-year-old Conneen, who graduated from Melbourne High School in 1985. "Money stays locally. EDC investors want to support things that are manufactured in Brevard County.’’
Conneen plans to extend that philosophy to 28 North Gastropub whenever possible.
"We want to purchase our ingredients in Brevard,’’ said Conneen, who is married to Robin and has four daughters ranging in age from 16 to 29. "Farmers markets will play a role. We will try to find local farms, but they can only provide so much. It’s too hot sometimes or too cold sometimes.’’
Tap-beer aficionados will like 28 North Gastropub.
"We’re going to replace nationally known beers with beers produced in local breweries. This should have a ripple-effect impact. We want to keep that money within the county instead of having it go to places like Arizona, Milwaukee or St. Louis.’’
Hand-crafted cocktails also will be a popular item.
"We’ll have fresh fruits from local farms for those drinks,’’ Conneen said. "It’s not going to be something out of a jar.’’
As available ingredients change with the seasons, the healthy, chef-curated menu will change monthly.
"Our chef, Kyle Hash, is our food nerd and food scientist,’’ Conneen said. "He has a passion for intelligent food. The different food networks have raised everyone’s awareness about food and how we put together tastes and textures. You have to think outside the box.’’
The charcuterie cutting board in the kitchen explains it all.
"When you put everything together, it’s like a symphony,’’ Conneen said. "By itself, it’s just OK. All kinds of meats, cheeses, vegetables will be fresh on the board. That’s where the palate wakes up. It’s really amazing. Part of the experience is to educate the guests and to have fun.’’
The plan is to have 28 North Gastropub open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday. On the weekends, there will be a brunch from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. before making the transition to the regular menu at 4 p.m.