Birdtown Brewery ruffling feathers in Lakewood

Damien Starcovic Jr. grew up in the area of Lakewood known as "Birdtown."

"We used to play on those stairs all the time they were good for sledding,” Starcovic said.

In Birdtown, all the streets are named after birds. At the church where Starcovic played, there will soon be a brewery.

Starcovic still has questions.

"Is it really going to be a bar, or is it going to be like a brewery where people are going to have a craft beer and eat a meal?” he asked.

St. Gregory's church on Quail Street was recently bought by a local group of investors. Jake Hawley is one of those investors, and says the building itself was a deal.

“That was a big selling point than just getting the project approved,” Hawley said.

Hawley says maintaining the history of the old 1910 church is as important as brewing beer, and the restaurant will make pizzas and will be geared toward family. All in line with the spirit of the church.

“We understand that it’s a residential neighborhood, churches across the street and there is a school across the street. We are really committed to being fixtures of the neighborhood, and we will do what is best for the neighborhood," Hawley stated.

However, for Pastor John Lutz, it’s his church that sits across the street. He was at Lakewood's school board meeting on Monday and says he is fighting for the kids in the neighborhood.

“It's only 75 feet away so we are gravely concerned about the distance and proximity, and the kids that live in this neighborhood," Pastor Lutz said at the meeting.

Lutz added that the street is already crowded and there is no room to park. Plus, there are concerns for the hours of operation.

Hawley said they will remain closed while school is session and they are in talks with the city to improve the parking situation.

“We have our own parking lot and we are going to be doing a valet service,” added Hawley.

Hawley said they have another location in Tremont, similar to the one being developed in Birdtown. That location has worked out well near a school and a church.

The Brewery says they want to work with the people in Birdtown. Starcovic adds there's no need to flock together as this is a done deal.

“I think it's weird, I think it is weird, but what can you do,” Starcovic lamented. 

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