Cheers: Aurora’s Roundhouse sold to Two Brothers Brewery of Warrenville
By Stephanie Lulay firstname.lastname@example.org May 3, 2011 3:30PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
AURORA — The Two Brothers Brewery of Warrenville announced Tuesday afternoon via Facebook and Twitter that they have bought America’s Historic Roundhouse restaurant and brewpub.
Scott Ascher, former Roundhouse operator, confirmed the news, but said the sale has not been finalized.
“They won it at an auction yesterday afternoon,” Ascher said Tuesday.
America’s Historic Roundhouse was formerly named Walter Payton’s Roundhouse.
Two Brothers Brewery has been brewing artisan craft beers, including Domain DuPage and Cane and Ebel, since 1997. The Brewery also operates the Two Brothers Tap House in Warrenville.
Jason Ebel, who co-owns Two Brothers with his brother, Jim, said two other groups submitted bids on the Roundhouse, but only one showed up at the auction Monday. Two Brothers purchased the operation for $1.1 million, which Ebel called “a virtual steal.”
He expects the sale to close in two weeks and the business will be renamed “Two Brothers Roundhouse.”
Ebel, a brewmaster and architect, said the historic nature of the Roundhouse played into the brothers’ decision to purchase the business.
“It’s one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve been in,” Ebel said.
Ebel said Tuesday that the brothers will fulfill any event commitments that were made at the Roundhouse under previous ownership.
But Ebel said the brothers will bring their style to the restaurant, which means local, organic-grown food and sustainable resources. The menu and company culture will be completely overhauled, he said.
“It’s going to take some time to implement, but we will eventually be brewing there,” Ebel said.
The brewery at the Roundhouse is small in comparison to their Warrenville operation and will need a lot of work, he said.
They will keep some employees from the existing business, too.
Ascher said he’s happy with the news.
“If Two Brothers ends up with it, I’d be very supportive. They’re very talented guys,” Ascher said.
Jim and Jason, a lawyer and an architect, have the training it takes to run the Roundhouse, Ascher said. The brothers are also brewmasters.
“They’ve got it all — they are prepared,” he said.
Ebel said the brothers will be responsible for some of the back taxes the restaurant owes, but because the business filed for bankruptcy in February, they will not be responsible for the mortgage.
According to a Feb. 14 bankruptcy filing, Ascher owed about $3.7 million to Ciena Capital, the mortgage’s holder. The business owed the city $64,953, the IRS more than $122,000 and the Illinois Department of Revenue more than $86,000 in back taxes, as of February, according to court filings.
“They definitely have a lot of back tax issues that we need to work with the state and city on,” Ebel said. “We’ve got it under control.”
Ascher will no longer act as operator of the Roundhouse. He said he’ll be assisting the brothers in the short term and will “move onto something else.”
“I have ideas, but nothing’s carved in stone right now,” he said.
Ebel said that he thinks the Roundhouse will be a nice addition to the businesses they already own.
“We’ve always wanted to get more into the entertainment side of things,” he said.
Location, too, is key. Although the brothers will keep the Tap House open, it’s location in an industrial park made it difficult to find, he said.
“(The Roundhouse) is a big space in the middle of town,” Ebel said. “We’re very excited.”