Nodding Head to close, pending a move
Owner Curt Decker is hoping for a spring 2015 relaunch, and though he’s not ready to divulge Nodding Head’s new home, he said it would be in a neighborhood outside of Center City.
After nearly 15 years upstairs at 1516 Sansom St., Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant wiill close after service on Friday, Oct. 31, to prepare for a move to a new location.
Owner Curt Decker is hoping for a spring 2015 relaunch, and though he's not ready to divulge Nodding Head's new home, he said it would be in a neighborhood outside of Center City.
State records show no applications for the transfer of Nodding Head's brewing and restaurant licenses, usually a lengthy process that would face scrutiny by potential neighbors.
Decker plans a slightly different concept for the new incarnation of his brewpub. On the food side, he'll tighten up the menu, concentrating on doing just a handful of dishes really well.
On the brewing side, he plans to continue doing favorites that Nodding Head has become known for — Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse is nationally renowned, for example — but also expand into more "boutique" beers. He's bringing the same equipment over to the new location, but he and brewmaster Gordon Grubb will have room to experiment with limited-edition runs and such products as barrel-aged beers.
He might even sell his beer to other bars, something that will be easier than ever since the brewpub's new site will be on the ground floor, instead of the second level.
Decker acknowledged prolonged difficulties in dealing with one of his two landlords, and things eventually came to a head when that landlord filed a judgment against the company over the summer. Although Nodding Head's lease isn't up for renewal until next year, Decker said that closing now gives him time to orchestrate the move.
"A fresh start gives me a chance to tweak things the way I want them," Decker says, pointing out that when he opened Nodding Head just before Christmas in 1999, taking over the former Samuel Adams brewpub, he had other partners. He's now the sole proprietor.
"I did not enjoy telling my staff that we were going to close, a lot of use are like family," he notes, "but everyone has been super supportive. It's time for a new adventure."