There’s a certain symmetry involved in Jay Shell’s varied interests on Broad Street.
It started with 333 on Broad, a restaurant with a cozy bar in back just off the Tribune Street entrance that grew to add a second story bar and concert area.
Six years ago, he opened Brewhouse Music & Grill just up the street, at 425 Broad St., in a leased building that had churned business after business. Shell remembered playing a concert there and how he saw it as a perfect music venue in addition to restaurant and bar. From “Brewplate special” lunches to sold-out concerts, business has been solid since that first year. The opening night act, he recalls, was the Velcro Pygmies.
That same band was back Sept. 28 and that’s fitting. This was the last weekend the Brewhouse was under Shell’s ownership. On Friday, he sold to Rena Dunn and John Anthony Dantimo, a bittersweet move for Shell but there are reasons.
Five years ago, he closed 333 and consolidated much of the menu into what was available at Brewhouse. But he’s back at his first location, now home to Rome City Brewing Co. as well as its upstairs tap room in a joint venture with brewmaster Dr. Trent Prault. They now own 333 Broad St. and use it as the brewing headquarters for Downtown Brown, Short Hot Blonde and an expanding list of craft beers brewed on Broad.
The upstairs Tap Room has become a craft beer haven with draught, growlers and now cans available from the 10-barrel brewing system downstairs. There’s also an expanding menu, this weekend featuring Oktoberfest-inspired meals as well as a few continuing favorites.
With Rome City Brewing Co. beers now offered on tap around town and around the region — plus retail sales with the ever-growing canned lineup — it was time for Shell to focus full-time on the brewery. With a couple of offers on the table, he made the hard call to make his “last call” at Brewhouse.
“Rome City Brewing needs my full attention and my heart is completely full in this business. The potential to create partnerships with great places around the south to bring folks great beer brewed right here in Rome, GA is through the roof. I’ve never been this excited about a business. Ever,” says Shell in a Facebook post.
“At the Brewhouse, I’ll still be involved in bringing bands and helping with anything they may need. My office manager and my bar manager will officially be taking over day to day ASAP. Rena Dunn and John Anthony Dantimo will take over and I know they’ll take it to another level.
“I’m thankful for this town. I’m thankful for my staff, current and former that’s been here. My family for believing in this crazy ride. The great customers that gave us a shot. Together we took that old, musty-smelling, jinxed building and turned it into something to be proud of. I’m just thankful that the success will continue and GROW with Rena Dunn and John Anthony Dantimo holding the reigns. It will continue to be the PLACE for live music in Downtown Rome, GA. We already have some AMAZING SHOWS booked for the rest of the year. December will be one to remember.”