The couples had long been interested in the space, which had been empty for nearly a decade, and befriended the building’s owner, Karl Jaeger, who supported the idea of a neighborhood tavern. After Jaeger’s death in 2006, his wife Lizzie encouraged the foursome to forge ahead with their plans.
The result, delayed by several months due to COVID-19, is Wheelhouse Craft Pub and Kitchen, slated to open Aug. 31.
The goal is for Wheelhouse to become a true community spot for the diverse group that lives and works in the area, from Emory University students to Emory Hospital employees to young families.
The something-for-everybody philosophy extends to Wheelhouse’s menu, which has meat and potato-style dishes for people looking for traditional pub fare, as well as creative, farm-to-table options prepared from locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant will open with a small core menu that will expand as pandemic restrictions are lifted.
For now, the menu is divided into Sharables like Macken Cheese Balls made with elbow pasta, cheese, panko and black truffle sauce; Soups and Salads including a Chopped Wedge Salad; All Hands, sandwiches including the Wheelhouse Burger, Fish Tacos and a Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich; heartier Knife and Fork options like Pan-Seared Salmon and Guinness Beef Stew; and Spud Corner, offering several kinds of baked potatoes. Additional sides include Crispy Brussels and Parmesan Cauliflower Mash.
The interior of Wheelhouse Craft Pub and Kitchen. / Courtesy of Lindsey Lingenfelter of Linden Tree Photography
A full bar offers a 16-tap draft system that will feature a rotating list of locally and regionally-brewed beers, as well as wine and cocktails.
The Wheelhouse space “is nicer than your typical pub — it’s cozy and cool,” Kathryn said, complete with a variety of seating arrangements including booths, couches, low-tops and high-tops, as well as a bar and outdoor seating that can accommodate about 10 tables.
Ian Macken said that while he and his brother are from Ireland, they don’t want Wheelhouse to have over-the-top Irish influences.
“We want to be very careful to straddle the Irish line,” he said. “You’ll see a thread of Irish.”
Ultimately, they see Wheelhouse as an extension of their own living rooms.
“A living room with a bar,” he said.
When Wheelhouse debuts, it will be open from noon-midnight daily for dine-in and carryout; hours will likely be adjusted based on demand.
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