One Trick Pony to bring Lansing’s first gastropub to Ridge Road

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LANSING, Ill. (June 6, 2020) – Mark Kocol, owner of One Trick Pony Brewery in Lansing, received Village Board approval Tuesday, June 2, to open a family-friendly gastropub at 3329 Ridge Road—in the building formerly occupied by DeYoung Furniture Store.

Mark Kocol and his wife attended the June 2 Village Board meeting to be present for the Board’s vote. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Gastropubs are notable for serving beer, wine, and high-quality food in a hybrid bar/pub/restaurant setting. Kocol made a presentation at the May 19 Village Board meeting, outlining the details of the relocation move and showing a potential ground plan for the larger space.

At the May 18 Committee of the Whole meeting, Mark Kocol showed some of the plans and drawings for the building on Ridge Road. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Architectural plans and timeline

The relocation of Kocol’s current Chappel Avenue brewing operation to the Ridge Road location will begin after the closing on the realty, which, by Kocol’s estimation, will take at least two weeks. Kocol and his partners will be bringing in a bar and restaurant designer and will need two months for architectural design and four months for actual construction. Kocol hopes to have at least a taproom open by December of this year if the brewery itself is not yet completely moved.

Kocol’s current taproom has approximately 1000 square feet with capacity for 40 patrons. Plans for the new gastropub—which will retain the name One Trick Pony Brewery—include a full-service kitchen and restaurant and bar capable of accommodating 100–110 seats on the 2500-square-foot main floor, and a 2500-square-foot second-floor gathering room for private parties, such as wedding and baby showers, birthday parties, and company gatherings. Kocol envisions installing garage-style or Euro wall windows that open onto Ada and Ridge Road during the pleasant weather months. The brewery itself will be moved to a 4000-square-foot steel building that will be constructed on the existing pad behind the 3329 Ridge Road building.

The brewery itself will be moved to a 4000-square-foot steel building that will be constructed on the existing pad behind the 3329 Ridge Road building. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

History

June 1, 2012:One Trick Pony Brewery opened at 17933 Chappel Avenue

2014: The Brewery moved to its current location at 17845–17851 Chappel Avenue.

2016–17: Kocol noticed that seven breweries had opened within ten miles of his brewery and that five of the seven had kitchens.

2017: Kocol discussed with the Village the possibility of adding a food component to his brewery—either a kitchen or a food bus.

January 2018: Kocol and the Village began talks about the value of moving the brewery operation to the traditional downtown area on Ridge Road near the soon-to-be launched multimillion dollar entertainment venue Fox Pointe.

August 2018: The Village of Lansing approved a Class 8 tax incentive application for One Trick Pony to open the door for the business to move to Ridge Road.

August 2019: Kocol appeared before the Village Board of Trustees to give an update on his plans, promising to make the move “sooner rather than later.” At the time, it seemed Kocol was planning to open a location at the Ridge Road and Ada Street intersection while maintaining One Trick Pony’s current location on Chappel Ave. The plan is now to move all the brewing operations to the Ridge Road location.

Partners

Kocal is primary owner and in partnership with six others: David Pezzola, who is part owner of three similar establishments in New York City and has a local RE development company; Nathaniel Pendleton, a cordon bleu-trained chef; Damon Stewart; Keith Lindsey; Brian Sak, a partner in several real estate developments in Chicago and who, according to Kocol, was instrumental in bringing everyone together; and Geisha Hawkins, whom Kocol describes as his favorite OTP mug club member.

Eager to get started

Owner Mark Kocol hopes to make One Trick Pony Brewery a family-friendly space that will appeal to craft beer lovers and casual family diners alike. Kocall released the following statement in response to the Tuesday board approval:

“The range of emotions hitting us include excitement, nervousness, an enormous sense of humbleness and humility at the opportunity presented, thankfulness to everyone who has provided One Trick Pony character and atmosphere over the years, relief, and, oh, yea: eager beyond belief to get started. The emotions, however, are also terribly sobered by the effects of corona virus the last 2 months on us all, and especially ESPECIALLY the events going on in today’s society. Over the next weeks and months, we plan to start to bring a comfortable family atmosphere to Ridge Road, outstanding food, and even more thirst-quenching and flavorful beer–a place people can brag about to friends that “I knew them way back when….” Time to put on the belt and suspenders and get to work.”

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Jennifer Yos grew up on Walter Street in Lansing with nine siblings. She attended St. Ann’s School and T.F. South, and she earned a BA in the Teaching of English from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a MS in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Francis, Joliet. For 34 years she taught English, as well as Creative Writing and Drama, at Lincoln-Way High School. She dabbled in freelance journalism for the Joliet Herald News Living section. Now retired, Jennifer appreciates the opportunity to write for The Lansing Journal and is uplifted by the variety of positive people she has already met who are making a difference in Lansing.