Restaurateur Hopes to Bring Life to Newtonville with New Venture
Bill Honeycutt, owner of the John Brewer's Tavern in Waltham and Malden, will open up a new location at the former C. Tsar's spot on Walnut Street.
Don’t tell Bill Honeycutt he won’t succeed with his new Newtonville restaurant.
“The more people that tell me that nothing has succeeded here, the more desire I have to prove them wrong,” Honeycutt said during an interview with Patch last week.
Honeycutt is aiming to open Brewer’s Coalition, a pub at 344 Walnut St., on Aug. 1. He's also hoping to start a new successful chapter for a corner of the city that has seen many restaurants close.
The new restaurant will be a spinoff of sorts of the other two locations. Honeycutt said the concept is to integrate the local community with the craft beer culture, which he plans to prominently feature in the new location. Various craft beers, including many from New England-based breweries, will be available and the restaurant will even have beer-based foods, Honeycutt said.
The craft beer theme is familiar for that Walnut Street spot; one of the site's previous tenants, The Newtonville Times, was actually a satellite location for another Waltham brewpub, Watch City Brewery.
“People are really into craft beers, especially around here,” Honeycutt said.
The location is ripe for a new restaurant, especially one that will attract people to an area that is typically dormant after 9 p.m. The site’s previous occupant, C. Tsar’s, closed in September of last year and over the years, the space has seen several restaurants come and go including Silhouette, Genghis Khan and Duckworth Lane.
“If you come down here at night right now, there is nothing going on. And the reason for that is, there is no reason to come to Newtonville at night,” Honeycutt said.
Brewer’s Coalition plans to be open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, it will open at 10 a.m. and close at 1 a.m. and on Sundays, the hours will be 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
“I think that the village needs a local gathering [place] and this is going to be that,” Honeycutt said as he sat in the Newton’s locations space, currently undergoing renovations.
Honeycutt believes the new restaurant will change that by attracting people from a large base of potential customers living in the immediate area.
The new Newton venture is the latest chapter in Honeycutt’s long and successful restaurant career. He entered the business at 17 when he landed a job as a cleaner at the Bull & Finch pub in Boston (before it became known as the “Cheers” bar featured in the hit television show). From there, he eventually became the general manager and vice president as the bar became popular during Cheer’s run. Honeycutt left the bar in 1998 to open his Waltham restaurant and he later opened the Malden location in 2008.
“I’m fifty. I’m not about to retire,” said Honeycutt when asked why he would expand his business when he already has two successful locations. “If you're not moving forward… you're moving backwards.”
The Medford resident said he also wants to give his staff the chance to grow.
With only a few weeks until his planned opening, Honeycutt is trying to complete renovations and finalize plans for the formal opening. The space has been completely gutted and dark wood paneling has been installed on the walls. In addition, tables and chairs have been brought in as well as a new beer-dispensing system.
To give his staff practice before opening, Honeycutt said he plans to hold several free open houses where customers can try food for free, but are invited to donate to the Pediatric Hematology & Oncology Unit of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The medical unit previously treated Honeycutt’s son, a five-year cancer survivor, for Hodgkin’s disease.
If all goes as Honeycutt plans, customers will soon be streaming into the new restaurant and bringing some nightlife to the village.
“I’m just confident we can pull it off,” Honeycutt said.