Editor’s Note: This is the 373rd in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — In 1871, the year of the city’s birth, Bradley W. Foster built a two-story wooden hardware store on the southwest corner of 3rd Avenue and 9th Street. In 1894, he replaced the wooden structure with a three-story brick building.
In 1923, the building was renovated and enlarged, becoming the home of the Huntington Dry Goods Co., later renamed the Huntington Store, one of the city’s popular department stores. With the store’s closing in 1982, the building sat vacant and neglected. At one point, it housed a flea market.
But in 1996, the old building stirred with new life as the home of BrewBakers — a unique combination of brewpub, restaurant and bakery. The former department store offered just what the fledgling enterprise needed — plenty of room and an interesting structure with huge windows and a vintage 1890s tin ceiling 14 feet overhead.
The atmosphere at BrewBakers was casual and inviting, the food delicious and the beer tasty. Gleaming metal tanks visible to both diners and passersby on the street produced an array of different brews.
The partners who invested a total of $2 million to open BrewBakers hired Angela Wurges, a 29-year-old brewer from Germany, to set up the micro-brewing equipment, develop and test beer recipes and train the establishment’s employees in the art of making beer.
The restaurant served steaks, pastas, wood-grilled pizza, soups, salads and other dishes. Meanwhile, the bakery offered hearth-baked breads, croissants and muffins.
BrewBakers was one of a half-dozen downtown Huntington restaurants that closed in 1998-99, victims of an ailing economy. But during its brief life, BrewBakers served up some enjoyable beers, memorable meals and fun times.
Today, the building houses the Marshall Hall of Fame Café, a restaurant with a Marshall University sports theme.