Monk’s Cellar brewpub to open in downtown Roseville

New business intended to spur revitalization efforts on Vernon Street
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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Vernon Street will soon boast yet another new spot for good times and grub, this place featuring beer with an “old world” European feel.

The Monk’s Cellar Brewery and Pub finalized a lease with the nonprofit Roseville Community Development Corporation on Oct. 24 to operate at 240 Vernon St. in downtown. The brewpub is expected to open in February 2014.

“Overall, Vernon Street really fit with the core of who we are, and what we wanted to be — we wanted to go into an area that had some character,” said Monk’s Founder and CEO Andy Klein.

Klein, a Roseville native and graduate of Roseville High School, runs a brewery consultant business and is a brewmaster in Oroville.

The Monk’s Cellar will offer artisanal beers from Belgium and other European countries, accompanied by simple meals served in a relaxed atmosphere, according to the business concept plan. The menu will include housemade breads, cured meat, cheeses, sausages and salads.

The brewpub is largely inspired by Belgium’s rich and diverse beer culture, which will be reflected in the brick and wood décor inside. But the name also hints at this inspiration, harkening to the traditional beer brewing by Trappist Monks within a monastery.

“A big component of the monasteries is to be self-sufficient,” Klein said. “They make their own beer, bread, cheese and grow all of their own vegetables and fruit. Traditionally, much of this would be made and stored down in the cellar. Much of our food will be sourced locally and we hope to make our own bread and at some point our own cheese. Of course, we will be making our own beer, as well.”

Klein points to another aspect of monastery life — helping the outside world. He said his business plans to be active within the local nonprofit community: “The name The Monk's Cellar ties into the three core aspects of our business:  beer, food and community.”

Monk’s plans to court a 21- to 59-year-old demographic, and to attract younger people, the business will offer a happy hour and live acoustic music.

“A big part of the RCDC’s goal and mission is the revitalization of downtown and this reflects success in that regard,” said Chris Robles, CEO of the Roseville Community Development Corporation.

Robles noted how Monk’s will give people another reason to go downtown — and stay awhile.

“Monk’s provides additional choice for food services on Vernon Street, so now we have a number of choices for people,” he said.

The development corporation purchased the vacant building at 240 Vernon St. for $630,000 in 2011, and later entered into a project development and management agreement with Barbieri Properties, LLC.

The corporation completed exterior improvements on the building, which included removing the metal rose decoration in the front and expanding the outdoor seating area.

Also in 2011, the corporation purchased the property at 242-246 Vernon St. for $537,500, and then entered into an agreement for project and development management with Barbieri Properties. Those buildings currently house tenants, including Nela’s Mexican Café, and are undergoing façade improvements and utility upgrades.

Monk’s Cellar represents the corporation’s latest efforts to attract new businesses downtown to stimulate revitalization. The brewpub will join Sammy’s Rockin’ Island Bar & Grill, which opened in September 2012 with financial support from the corporation.

“My thinking is a normal landlord just wants someone in there and a check every month,” Klein said. “The RCDC has vision and they want what’s best for that area.”

The Roseville City Council formed the nonprofit, private corporation in fall 2010 in response to concerns about the future of the city’s redevelopment agency and revitalization projects planned for downtown. The council wanted to protect the city’s substantial financial investment in revitalization. In 2012, all redevelopment agencies in the state were eliminated.

Over the past few years, Vernon Street has also seen the opening of Italian restaurant The Place, Rustic Grains Bakery and Java Jungle Café. The Vernon Street Town Square opened in August, and both performing arts venues on the street — Tower Theater and Roseville Theater — regularly host live shows and other special events. Blue Line Gallery continues to operate downtown.