Wicked Head Brewing in Trumann is pushing to open sometime in October, co-owner Mark Penn told your Whispers staff recently. “Of course, a lot of things have to continue to go right for us, but we’re very close to the finish line.”
He and co-owner Rusty Fontenot, both of Jonesboro, have been renovating the former Maxie Theatre at 136 Highway 463 S., a 4,400-SF space and a historic landmark in the Poinsett County town. That will accommodate a 1,200-SF brewhouse and a taproom of about 1,400 SF.
The Art Deco theater, built in 1948-49, required a substantial renovation, which required a substantial investment, Penn said. “It’s the same as if it was a brand new building. And it being an old movie theater, we had to level off the floor.”
The building, which had been scheduled to be razed, is important to the community, Penn said. “Everybody that comes in while we’re working on it has a story to tell about either their parents or their grandparents or when they were a kid about watching movies there.”
While declining to share dollar figures, Penn said, “We put more into this project money-wise than we probably would have had we picked any other location, and we did it, basically, to save that historic landmark for the community there,” he said. “We just fell in love with the building and wanted to give it a second life.”
Penn, a dedicated home brewer, hasn’t worked in the restaurant industry previously, but he has extensive experience in retail management. Fontenot is a public accountant.
Wicked Brew plans a simple menu, one that complements the beer it brews, and will employ about 10 workers. “One thing we plan to do is rotate through a lot of different styles and bring a lot of variety” to Wicked Brew’s beer, Penn said. “We plan to keep changing it up.”