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Three Rivers Brewery restaurant, lounge will reopen next week


Menu and beer selection will be limited in early stage

FARMINGTON — Shut down for nearly a year because of COVID-19-related restrictions and the Complete Streets construction, the Three Rivers Brewery Eatery & Brewhouse will open its doors again next week.

Co-owner John Silva said the restaurant — the flagship operation of the Three Rivers Brewery block of businesses that also includes a pizzeria, a taproom and a lounge — will reopen Monday, March 29. The restaurant, located at 101 E. Main St., will serve a limited menu and will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.

"We'll slowly start adding things to the menu after we get our feet on the ground financially," Silva said.

The Three Rivers Brewstillery Lounge, 109 E. Main St., will reopen later in the week and will serve customers from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. It, too, will serve a limited menu.

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The Three Rivers Pizzeria, 107 E. Main St., remains closed. Silva said he will consider reopening that restaurant later if the pandemic continues to subside in San Juan County.

The Three Rivers Tap and Game Room, 111 E. Main St., reopened in late August, serving only beverages.

Silva has said his Three Rivers empire has faced a series of challenges since January 2020, when construction began on the downtown Complete Streets renovation project, limiting access to his business. But subsequent prohibitions or limitations on in-person dining that followed the onset of the pandemic had the bigger impact, even after the section of Main Street in front of the brewery block reopened last summer when construction was complete.

Now, Silva and co-owner and head brewer Patrick Liessmann are trying to rebuild their brewery empire, founded in 1997, that once employed close to 100 people, making it perhaps the most bustling business in the downtown district. Silva said after nearly every Three Rivers employee was laid off over the last year, he has hired back enough people to build a staff of 25.

While Silva is hopeful the worst is over, he is not convinced that is the case and plans to proceed cautiously for the next several weeks.

"It's like starting a new restaurant all over again for us," he said of the process of opening the doors again after the eatery shut down in the middle of May last year. " … There's going to be a learning curve for us."

Silva said he was forced to dispose of most of his inventory last year during the shutdown, and he doesn't want to find himself in the same position this time if another surge occurs and strict business restrictions are reimposed.

"If we get shut down, we don't want to throw more stuff out," he said.

But he said for the past several weeks, he has been deluged with requests to reopen from loyal customers, and that has prompted him to resume operations at the eatery and lounge. He hopes his clientele will be understanding about the limited menu and will be patient with his staff while the restaurant gets back up to full speed.

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His partner, Liessmann, said he is excited to see the restaurant back in business.

"But along with that comes a lot of nerves," he said.

In addition to the limited menu, Three Rivers will not be serving its full complement of beers initially, Liessmann said. But he did say customers can expect to choose from a variety of libations, including such Three Rivers core brews as its IPA, its apple cider, its golden ale and its pilsner.

"We should have a pretty good spread opening up," he said.

Liessmann said he looks forward to seeing a lot of familiar faces in the days ahead as the restaurant and lounge resume operations.

"We're really thankful to all the people from Farmington who have continued to call us and support us," he said.

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Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.