A flight of local brews at the Bank Street Brewhouse

Two years ago, problems with the kitchen and foodservice operation at New Albany’s Bank Street Brewhouse became so severe that the owners decided to stop serving food. For 10 months, guests enjoyed the New Albanian brews from the tap and, if they wanted to eat, purchased from food trucks parked regularly at the front door.

Then, owners Kate Lewison and Amy Baylor struck a deal with someone they knew well — a classmate from Our Lady of Perpetual Health grade school. Stacie Bale remembers riding the bus there in first grade with Kate and Amy. The business includes New Albanian Brewing Company, the Pizzeria and Public House a few miles away, and the Brewhouse. Lewison said that co-founder Roger Baylor remains a partner but is not involved in day-to-day operations.

Stacie Bale and Kate Lewison
Stacie Bale and Kate Lewison

Bale was on her own foodservice journey, having operated Earth Friends Cafe at multiple locations and with varying degrees of success. When the opportunity came to work with her friends from grade school and create a menu that made sense for Bank Street, Bale jumped at the chance. They opened the kitchen in May 2015.

Now that Bale has had just over a year to experiment with the menu, locals are discovering that the Brewhouse menu deserves a spot on the list of great spots among the growing dining scene in downtown New Albany.

Bale said that because of her reputation at Earth Friends, some patrons assumed the new menu would be all vegan. While there are Vegan options, Bale’s menu choices include burgers and chicken dishes. But all menu items can be made with plant-based ingredients, and the menu suggests that with all dishes, you can “make it Vegan.”

“if you want to eat meat, that’s fine,” Bale said. “Originally we had to battle the Vegan stigma. But there is a huge clientele for Vegan.”

 I sampled the BSB Burger, complete with an egg and slices of avocado, a delicious combination, though admittedly I wasn’t ready for the egg yolk to run across the bun and my hands. But the highlight may have been the Organic Black Bean and Corn Rice Bowl, which was topped with avocado and a tasty homemade Smoky Jalapeño sauce.

Regulars at the Brewhouse love the new menu, Bale said. For some, she said, it’s a surprise to see Bank Street serving food again, even after 15 months.

To hear more from Kate Lewison and Stacie Bale, download the EatDrinkTalk podcast right here at the EatDrinkTalk.net website on Friday.

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