After nearly a decade at NE 40th and Sandy Boulevard, Laurelwood Pizza Company, the first public house property in a successful branch of pubs, will be closing its doors for good. The Hollywood District brewpub was at the forefront of the family friendly, organic and sustainably minded model that we see today at their other locations and at places like Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB). In fact, HUB’s founder and brewmaster, Christian Ettinger cut his teeth putting out some nationally recognized award winning beers at Laurelwood Pizza. Moreover, Ettinger was brewing beer in this space before Laurelwood took over, In over a year prior to Laurelwood’s run began in 2001, the young brewer was producing beers for Old World Pub & Brewery. “I basically started in the ashes of a failed brewpub. I was hired to help develop (Old World).” said Ettinger in a past interview. “It went out of business and Laurelwood opened on the same site and took over the lease. And I represented the landlord for that space just to show the tenants what kind of potential that place had. I saw that it was really underutilized by the former management. You can see what happened with a good operator and with good beer.” In 2003, Laurelwood acquired current brewer Chad Kennedy who brewed with Ettinger and eventual took the reigns at their brewmaster. The addition of Kennedy proved a seamless transition and his role in the company is undoubted as invaluable as anyone’s at Laurelwood.
As it turns out, the current landlord has been trouble for Laurelwood, and this is big part of the decision to move on. Laurelwood co-founder Mike De Kalb says the brewpub signed a 10 year lease with options. “We never got along (with the landlord) since probably day number 30” says De Kalb. “It’s too bad, but we’re moving forward.” De Kalb and company recently finalized the sale of Laurelwood Pizza to a brewery from Utah known as Sun River Brewery. After Monday July 5th, 2010, the business will change hands. As a final hoorah and thanks to all of the patrons who made the family establishment a success, Laurelwood will be offering happy hour prices all night.
In a recent newsletter email, Laurelwood made the following statement:
For many of us the original Laurelwood Public House and Brewery on NE 40th and Sandy Boulevard was our first Laurelwood home. We opened in March of 2001 and in 2007 when we took the main production facility and pub up the street, the 40th location became Laurelwood Pizza Company. We have had a great run with so many great memories and great beers! We feel so fortunate that we have made so many friends and literally watch many of our employees and customers children grow up. For nearly ten years you have helped us make Laurelwood a staple in not only the Hollywood District but also all of Portland and we want to say thank you. So this Monday, July 5th from 5pm-10pm we want to invite all of you to come out and raise one last pint of beer with us in memory and in honor of all the great times we had at our original brewery! Thank you all for so many great years!
As you probably know, July is Oregon Craft Beer Month and Laurelwood has a lot planned. De Kalb says two of the biggest events include a firkin and cheese pairing on July 7th at Laurelwood’s NW 23rd Ave Public House and a Luau to happen on July 28th at their NE 51st and Sandy Blvd brewpub.
For a list of more events happening at Laurelwood, visit www.laurelwoodbrewpub.com