Mathews Brewing prepares to get cooking this fall with sister restaurant in Lake Worth Beach
SINCE ITS TAPS started flowing in 2017, Mathews Brewing Company has established itself as a popular South Florida destination with award-winning craft beer and live music.
But in a few months, the action around the Lake Worth Beach microbrewery will really get cooking.
The brewmasters who brought you Florida Hop Juice, Accelerate, Sweet Emotion and other award-winning suds are gearing up to serve fresh hot food at a sister-restaurant directly across the alley from Mathews Brewing.
The Mathews Brewing Company Scratch Kitchen & Restaurant will serve pizza, tacos, pasta, hamburgers, hoagies and much more from a renovated space at 125 South Dixie Highway, a block south of Lake Avenue.
There will be seating in the front facing Dixie Highway (next door to Family Bicycles). But customers will also be able to access the restaurant from a back door that will open to the alley fronting the rear entrance to Mathews Brewing Company, at 130 S H St. in the city’s Arts District.
Customers watching a band or sitting at the bar at Mathews Brewing will be able to order from menus. Restaurant runners will deliver their food.
A soft opening is targeted for October.
“It’s going to be an extension of the brewery,’’ owner David Mathews said. “We plan to start out with special hours and a limited menu and grow the restaurant organically, just like we have done with the brewery.’’
The concept took root during the pandemic, when restrictions allowed bars to remain open only if they served food. Mathews decided to go on a fact-finding mission, visiting South Florida breweries offering food.
While many places had breweries and kitchens under the same roof, Mathews felt the best operation was to keep the kitchen separate from the brewery manufacturing.
That meant he’d need a building close to Mathews Brewing Company, which is in an area a block west of Dixie Highway zoned for manufacturing.
He initially considered the old Haus Lounge on South J Street but realized it was too far — on the other side of busy Dixie Highway.
In mid-2022, he learned the space at 125 S. Dixie Highway (previously occupied by a flooring company) was going to be available for rent. About 15 footsteps from the rear entrance of Mathews Brewing, it’s an ideal location for a sister restaurant.
“We were able to get a zoning approval letter from the city for our restaurant concept and then we signed a five-year lease and began the design and permitting for the restaurant,’’ he said.
“Our goal is to be full service with Mathews Brewing Company craft beer and Mathews Brewing Company Scratch Kitchen for food.”
A key player in the scratch kitchen has been Bob Stakos, the lead brewer at Mathews Brewing, who has 30 years of experience in the restaurant business, Mathews said.
The restaurant’s slogan is “Simple Goodness.” But two other words, in the restaurant’s name, emphasize its mission.
The “scratch kitchen” will focus on local ingredients and affordable casual food, Mathews said. “We will prepare the bulk of our food in-house and will not be using any frozen products.’’
It will feature three cooking stations, including one with a Marsal Brick Deck Pizza oven with baking capacity for six 18-inch pizzas. Detroit- and New York-style pizzas will be offered, along with calzones.
Mathews said he envisions a full-scale menu including fried green tomatoes, calzones, wings, wraps, quesadillas and more. While some menu items may rotate, Mathews said the pizza, burgers and tacos will be permanent.
The renovations and build-out for the restaurant will cost around $450,000. Mathews said he is grateful for a $35,000 grant awarded earlier this month to the restaurant by the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency.
Mathews said he invested $3 million in Mathews Brewing Company, from modern brewing tanks to colorful murals and comfortable seating. In its first six years, the brewery has built a loyal following of regulars from as far as Broward County and racked up brewing competition awards.
Not bad for a civil engineer from Tampa who in 1996 started studying what he calls “brewing science.’’
Despite his beer-making talents, Mathews said he knows customers today want more than just a cold brew.
“People want food over beer,'' he said. “There are just a lot of foodies out there.’’
There will be one no-no at the scratch kitchen.
While Mathews Brewing Company has long been known for welcoming dogs, canines will not be allowed in the restaurant.
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About the author
Joe Capozzi is an award-winning reporter based in Lake Worth Beach. He spent more than 30 years writing for newspapers, mostly at The Palm Beach Post, where he wrote about the opioid scourge, invasive pythons, the birth of the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Palm Beach County government. For 15 years, he covered the Miami Marlins baseball team. Joe left The Post in December 2020. View all posts by Joe Capozzi.