The STATION at eMbers is done; well, kind of. Nonetheless, being done(ish) is a strange feeling. The road to getting here was even more so. I never imagined the brain, body, and wallet power it was going to take to get a much smaller building than the eMbers Venue complete. The biggest part of that was the outdoor space but overall, this was a difficult but interesting adventure in construction.
My favorite part about the design and construction of the STATION and its outdoor space was our philosophy in doing it. This time around, our focus was more internalized. The designs you see at the STATION are more a representation of us and our style. I grew up at my dad’s collision center and converting this service station was a personal experience because of that. What you see at the expansion is, in essence, a piece of us. We created in a “this is who we are” fashion. If you like the experience here, we should be friends.
Setbacks were plenty. We lost a projected 16% of revenue with our local college locking its doors. We lost our brewer (don’t worry, we will become a microbrewery still soon) for reasons I stopped trying to figure out. I spent a couple days in ICU and will still have to heal for a few more weeks. There were definitely moments where I questioned if we should continue. To push forward, I had to remind myself how important this could be to downtown.
The process for creating the STATION was systematic. The basic plans were already created six year ago back when we purchased the shell of what is now the Venue. The blueprints were done before the mural was started. Everything you now see was conceptualized years before it was created. It was a lot of waiting!
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE STATION:
An intimate experience. We will be seating for 8 at the bar and 32 in the general area. Where the brewery will ultimately go, there is now a lounge feel with a soft seating area for a small group of friends to relax. If there is opportunity and need, the VENUE can be opened up to allow many more guests access to the facility. The outside pavilion seats an additional 40-60 with plenty of space for movement and interaction as well.
A new food experience. This is something that is really cool and I’m excited to share it. The wood fired brick oven brings an old world flavor to the foods we prepare. Flatbread pizzas are a must, of course, but we also wanted to really use the brick oven for a variety of fun foods. The menu will be BISTRO styled. This means we are not offering a full restaurant menu. We will be shifting seasonal ingredients and focusing on rotations. There will be vegetarian options and brunch type foods as well.
Bar. Our favorite component. We take great pride in the creativity, quality, and gamut of drinks we create for you at the VENUE. We are especially excited for the new spirits and local angles with the bar at the STATION. Here, we are going to focus on more local friends like 12.05 in Indy, Journeyman in 3 Oaks, MI, and the numerous breweries all across our state and Chicagoland. We want to rotate taps as we go through them so there will be many opportunities to learn about local, quality beers as we continue developing our new plan for our microbrewery.
Entertainment. When I was a really little kid, I would ride around with my family listening very closely to the radio. I was under the assumption that the bands were at the radio station playing live. If I heard the song twice in one day, that meant they didn’t do a good enough job the first time (ya, I was like 4 years old). When I was kind of a little kid, I would sit on the floor of my room with my finger on the record and pause buttons waiting for my favorite songs to play so I can record them onto a blank tape and listen to my favorite songs on demand. I was very particular on catching them on the first beat and if I didn’t like the song, I’d rewind it back and wait for the next song. My dual cassette boombox was my best friend and we couldn’t be separated. There really was never a time in my life where music wasn’t important. That’s why I try so hard to bring music to Rensselaer. I feel that if live music is important in my life, it surely is to others in the area as well. Tomorrow (Thursday Night), we have our first look of the STATION for guests who purchase tickets to the Air Traffic Controller / Fast Romantics concert. Doors open tomorrow at 5pm to see the STATION and 6pm door for the venue. We are hoping that in future concerts, having the component of dinner and drinks before a show will be a boost for live concerts. You can get your tickets HERE for the Thursday show. Please do, these are two great bands out of Boston and Alberta, Canada.
WHEN WILL THE STATION BE OPEN?
Half jokingly, I tell people “when we learn how to cook food from the menu”. We still have a punch list of items to iron out and solidify the menu as well. So just a couple things for sure. I’m optimistic that we will be ready in the end of June for a July opening. We will start with a soft opening for friends and family. There, we hope to iron out some kinks; then open to the public. We may have a big opening day event or we may just put a post on social media saying “hey, we’re open”. TBD Late, late June/ early July.
Truth be told, this is kind of scary for me so I want to make sure we are certainly ready. There will be hiccups, I will occasionally burn something in the brick oven (it's charred, not burnt), and I’ll screw up other things; bear with me and our team as we find our groove.
I certainly thank many of you for your support throughout these months and the kind words. Your voices have overwhelmed the condescending “hope it works out for you” words that people think it's fun for me to hear (shoulder shrug, question mark?). It is because of your support of the venue that has allowed us this opportunity and eternal thanks for that. Speaking of thanks, purchase your tickets to tomorrow’s concert HERE and I’ll thank you in person! :)