Iron Hill opening Monday in Derry Township
Bill DeVinney has opened 100 restaurants in his career, but No. 101 is the one he is most nervous about ahead of the first day.
DeVinney is general manager of the new Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant opening Monday on West Chocolate Avenue in Derry Township.
Not only is Iron Hill the largest tenant in the Hershey Towne Square development — a $25 million commercial project that also includes a litany of other restaurants and retailers — it's also close to a major tourist destination, Hersheypark, he said.
So there is added pressure to deliver an attraction that can also bring more people to downtown Hershey. DeVinney, who has opened Irish pubs, steakhouses and other restaurants for various chains across the country, is confident Iron Hill will do that for Hershey.
"I think it's really going to ignite the economy here," DeVinney said. "Having a brewery and restaurant on this strip is going to be a great addition."
Iron Hill sits adjacent to Primanti Bros. The retail center also includes a Jersey Mike's Subs shop. Other tenants include Iron Valley Real Estate, Great Clips, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Starbucks, T-Mobile, Happy Nails & Spa, Three Little Birds Boutique, Beef Jerky Outlet, the U.S. Post Office and Freshido, a fast-casual Asian restaurant that opened last year in downtown Harrisburg.
Over the last week, Iron Hill has been finalizing interior fit-out of the 335-seat brewpub and training about 130 people who will run the new restaurant. It will be the 16th location for Delaware-based Iron Hill and the chain's 10th in Pennsylvania.
DeVinney, who has run the company's Lancaster location for the past three years, said Iron Hill had been looking to expand into the Harrisburg area for awhile. The Hershey location, which will serve up locally inspired beers like Lap Bar IPA, was too sweet to pass up, he said.
Iron Hill will open with 16 beers on tap, ranging from IPAs to Belgians, German lagers and American styles. The plan is to brew six signature beers and 50 to 60 seasonal beers throughout the year.
"We'll have something for everybody," 28-year-old head brewer Derek Testerman said.
Testerman, a Lancaster native who started as a server at Iron Hill Lancaster at the age of 21, left the company for about four years to brew beer in California. He is back to lead Hershey and says he believes the new Iron Hill location will serve up beer that stands out in the crowded craft-beer scene in Central Pennsylvania.
"I think I'm going to bring something different," he said.
And because it's in Hershey, Iron Hill will always have a chocolate beer on tap, DeVinney said.
Iron Hill hopes to produce 800 to 900 barrels of beer annually at the new location. A barrel represents 31 gallons of beer. To put that in perspective, nearby Troegs Brewing Co. produced more than 100,000 barrels last year.