When Wild Side Brewing Company opened their doors in 2017, their concept was unique: make distinctly crafted beers with a focus on barrel aging and quality over quantity. It has been an approach that has established them as a leading local brewery and has made their Grand Rapids location a destination for beer enthusiasts and all those looking for a good beer, great meal and a comfortable atmosphere.
Wild Side Brewing Company’s focus has always been on serving the Grand Rapids community. And while that focus has not shifted, the brewery recently opened its second location in downtown Toledo.
“Expanding really wasn’t part of our plan,” said owner Nicholas Scott. “The opportunity just kind of fell in our laps. It was just too good to pass up. We wouldn’t be here without the mothership in Grand Rapids and the love from our community there and everyone who has come there over the years.”
To Expand or Not to Expand
And while the opportunity was available to expand into their new downtown St. Clair street location, Scott said it still needed to be a brewery decision.
“I asked everyone involved with Wild Side what their thoughts were on expanding downtown,” Scott said. “If they didn’t think we could maintain the same quality or atmosphere being spread across another location, I didn’t want to do it. But they were all supportive and excited about moving forward. That made it a much easier decision.”
Their new location, which is directly adjacent to Fifth Third Field and the newly remodeled Glass City Center, was previously occupied by Firefly Bar and Restaurant. According to Scott, the location was particularly appealing.
“This is one of the best streets in Toledo,” Scott said. “We are so close to everything going on and we think it’s only going to get better. It was exciting to join the other great restaurants on the street.”
Different Location, Same Feel and Taste
Wild Side’s downtown location only needed a modest facelift before reopening. Namely, updates to lighting and paint helped create a similar feel to their Grand Rapids location. The downtown location also boasts a similar menu to their Grand Rapids location, which is buoyed by their signature Detroit-style pizza. And while they have established themselves as a quality eatery, Wild Side still heavily focuses on their libations which includes sours, IPAs, lagers and craft cocktails.
“Craft beer and breweries should be fun,” Scott said. “I want the drinks to be good and consistent and I want the experience to be worth going out.”
Despite their success in Grand Rapids, Scott said there was still some anxiety in expanding into a second location.
“I haven’t been comfortable in 5 years,” Scott said. “Every day, the doors open, and I hope people will keep coming back. Thankfully, they have. I just hope that continues.”
Both Wild Side locations are open Tuesday-Friday from 4-11pm, Saturday from 11am-11pm and Sunday from 11am-9pm. Wild Side features local musical acts on most nights. Visit www.wildsidebrewing.com. 20 N. St. Clair St., Toledo and 24194 Front St., Grand Rapids.