By Deb Everts
The Steelbound name known so well in Ellicottville will soon be a household word in Springville when Bill Bursee expands his brewery and restaurant business with a second location this summer.
Located in the old Robinson Knife Factory that stood on the site at 243 West Main St. about a century ago, Steelbound Brewery & Restaurant of Springville will occupy the former Papa Jake’s Saloon that was housed within the factory.
Bursee said people have been blowing up their email, and they have already received “probably a thousand emails” asking about the new brewery and restaurant.
“It’s overwhelming, but great, because it shows the huge, looming interest about what we are doing,” he said.
According to Bursee, the new brewery is smaller than Ellicottville’s building at 7,200-square feet. He said the Ellicottville location, with its brewery and distillery combined, is about 11,000-square feet.
There will be seating for just under 300 people — probably about 280 — whereas the Ellicottville facility seats 309. He plans to employ 25 to 30 people.
“The new place will have a three-barrel brewing system, and we’re going to do small-batch beers,” he said. “We still have over 30 beers at our Ellicottville location that we’ve produced already. That’s hard to do in a larger system like we have here because, when we get smaller, we can get a lot more experimental and do more things. We’re going to do some bourbon-barrel aging to the beer there, as well.”
Bursee said the building at the second location didn’t require extensive renovation, but it’s going to require all new equipment and all new seating. He said when patrons come in, the space is going to feel like a brewery with chalkboards and corrugated metal. He said the major brick structure is going to stay, but they are bringing in their flair.
“The structure is beautiful. You can’t change the structure and that’s the greatest thing about it. It’s an old knife factory with amazing brick walls and the architecture is something that you cannot recreate,” he said. “What we are doing is kind of bringing some of what we have in Ellicottville — our kind of flair to Springville. So, we have a really easy-going place that’s really nice and the atmosphere is great. We’re just trying to make it feel more comfortable and more like a brewery should feel.”
The flagship location in Ellicottville offers a variety of beers, from stouts to ales, with their most popular brew being the Last Minute IPA. Bursee said they will bring their distilled spirits from Ellicottville, but they will not produce them on the new site.
Like the Ellicottville facility, the new Steelbound location will also feature a dinner menu. Bursee said they try to use as much product from their brewery and distillery as possible through their kitchen because it adds to the dishes they put out.
“Right now, in Ellicottville, we use some of our whiskey corn mash and we do a whiskey batter fish fry, which is super light and crispy,” he said. “We’ll do it at our Springville location as well.”
Bursee opened the flagship spot for his Steelbound bar/restaurant and brewery/distillery in Ellicottville last year on Route 219, across from Tim Hortons. When the opportunity arose, he couldn’t resist opening a second brewpub in Springville, the town that means so much to him.
Originally from Buffalo, Bursee is a retired building contractor who now lives in Springville. It’s home for Bursee, his wife, Racquel, and their two children, Tyler and Olivia, who both attended Springville-Griffith Institute in grades K-12.
He’s deeply ingrained in the community where he has coached youth football, raised his children and served on the Springville Education Foundation Board.
Bursee said he decided to open his second location in the town where he resides because the building is a great place that was once the anchor of Springville, and many events were held in that building.
“It was where everybody went and I spent a lot of time there. I coached football and we always went back to Papa Jake’s. I sat on the board of education and we had a wine tasting event in that building every year,” he said. “It’s a central part of the community and I just couldn’t see losing it. It was definitely something that needed to happen.”
According to Bursee, the Springville location is going to offer a lot of things the Ellicottville location does not. He said one of the big things they’re trying to put together right now is to have a Sunday Brunch every week. They are also looking at doing a nice, deep dish pizza that is not offered in the area and won’t compete with other pizzerias in the area that are doing well.
“We certainly don’t want to come into this community and be competing with people who are already doing well there. We are going to be really conscientious of that,” he said.
Some renovation continues, but Bursee has already signed the lease for the space. A specific opening date has not yet been determined, because Bursee still awaits a state liquor license.