Growing Jack Brown’s Forms Chain
Downtown Eatery Opening In Roanoke
Posted: January 12, 2013
HARRISONBURG — Less than four years after stepping onto the downtown dining scene, the owners of Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint are making their first foray outside the Valley.
Co-owners Aaron Ludwig and Mike Sabin plan to open another Jack Brown’s in downtown Roanoke this spring, coming on the heels of their acquisition of the building that houses the Harrisonburg location and the childhood friends’ other restaurant, Billy Jack’s Wing and Draft Shack.
Jacktown Holdings LLC purchased the building on the northeast corner of South Main and East Water streets in Harrisonburg for $1 million, real estate records show.
Jack Brown’s expansion south has been in the works for about a year, Ludwig said.
“We brought on some extra partners to help with the expansion, and it’s been something we’ve been talking about for a long time,” he said. “We were never in a rush. … There was a lot of spots that came up we said no to. This spot that came up was perfect for us.”
Ludwig said he expects the Roanoke location to open in March or April. It will replace Ernie’s Bar and Grill on Market Street, which is closing, he said.
“It’s going to be right on the center of the square in downtown Roanoke,” he said. “It’s right in the heart of downtown here.”
In addition to the first location on South Main Street in Harrisonburg and Billy Jack’s, Ludwig and Sabin own a Jack Brown’s satellite location at The Village at Massanutten on U.S. 33 in Rockingham County.
The original Jack Brown’s opened in April 2009, and Billy Jack’s followed on the same city block two doors down in spring 2011.
The Village at Massanutten Jack Brown’s, a trailer the company formerly used for catering special events, opened last September. It features Jack Brown’s full menu, 50 varieties of bottled beer and outdoor seating.
Though it will be about 112 miles south on Interstate 81 away from the original location, patrons of the Roanoke Jack Brown’s won’t see too many differences, Ludwig said.
Ian Revereza, a longtime employee, will run the Roanoke location.
It will feature similar décor and the menu will be the same as well.
Ludwig said the Roanoke spot will be slightly bigger than the Harrisonburg location, which is narrow and has room for only one table.
“It will be more seating at this one, but not by much,” he said. “It’ll still be a cozy, intimate atmosphere, just like Jack Brown’s here in Harrisonburg.”
Opening a new Jack Brown’s isn’t the only way Ludwig is growing his businesses.
With the purchase of the South Main Street building that houses Billy Jack’s and Jack Brown’s, he hopes to offer rental space for private parties, conferences and other events.
If all goes well, space above Billy Jack’s will be available for rental before spring, he said.
In addition to the restaurants, the building is home to Laughing Dog T-Shirts and Gifts, which sits between Billy Jack’s and Jack Brown’s.
Ludwig said he frequently gets asked when he’s going to kick out Laughing Dog and take over the entire Main Street frontage.
“They’re good people. They’re a good bonus for downtown. It’s nice to have [retail shops],” he said. “They have a good home there. They’ve been there for a long time. We have no plans to move them out of there.”
Ludwig, whose childhood dream was to open a restaurant/bar like Jack Brown’s, said he didn’t expect to find so much success in such a short amount of time.
“I never thought that big about all this,” he said. “The team I got with me, my staff, is amazing. … My staff around me is the reason I can do that.”
Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or email@example.com