FAIRBORN — The Hairless Hare Brewery, a native of the City of Vandalia, will soon open a second location in the former fire station on Broad Street.
“We talked with [City Manager] Rob Anderson about the plans for the city and downtown and we felt good about the opportunity,” Hairless Hair Brewery Co-Owner Matt Harris said. “We’re excited to be a part of it.”
The conversation started approximately six months ago, Harris added, highlighting that the city had already begun the demolition process to the interior of the building. In a previous interview, Anderson said the interior of the fire station facility would be demolished and restored to its original look, allowing operators of interest to see the “bones” of the structure. The ceiling has been lowered and items have been attached to the brick walls.
The Fairborn fire station, located at 29 S. Broad Street, formerly housed differing operations, including a school and Village of Fairfield offices. However, it has remained a fire station since adopting that identity.
Although no firm schedule has been established concerning the rebuilding process, Harris said he and his co-owners plan to decorate the facility with items that reflect the history of the building, including memorabilia from the Fairborn Fire Department and photos from local historians. They plan to reach out to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base officials as well to ask if they have historical items to donate.
“At the Bluegrass and Brews Festival, we were overwhelmed by how many people connected to the firehouse in the city,” he said. “People came up and shared their stories and were quite welcoming.”
Harris and his co-owners, including Diane Harris, Mike Legg and Candy Legg, are hopeful to host a meet-and-greet in the fall to give citizens the opportunity to see the gutted interior. That way, by the opening, citizens can see the difference first-hand.
“At best — by early summer 2018, we’ll be ready to open,” Matt Harris said.
Brewing beer, alongside his partner and co-owner Mike Legg, started as a hobby in the basement of his home but grew as they befriended bottle shop owners who eventually asked to taste their product. They enjoyed it so much that they allowed outside individuals to have a taste, moving Harris out of the tool and dye industry and into the brewery community. They had launched a Facebook page for the Hairless Hare on Jan. 1, 2013, signed the lease on the Vandalia facility by April and officially opened by November. Four years later, they’re opening a second location in Fairborn and hope to “improve the local economy” and help the community “become the lunch and after-work destination.”
“[We hope] the foot traffic will encourage other small businesses to open,” he said.
The Hairless Hair brews all types of beers, from standard American ales, to pale ales to barrel aged, among others. It is also able to create beers for Vandalia businesses, allowing local enterprises to offer specialty in-house recipes once per month, which is visioned to come to Fairborn restaurants in the future.
As far as its menu is concerned, Harris said the Hairless Hare is known for its specialty-crafted pizzas, including chicken curry, salmon and barbecue pork; in addition to its smoked-food items, such as briskets and pork. Food is always handmade and created fresh, Harris said, which makes sense as Diane Harris is a chef by trade. The business does not include deep fryers, but does offer a fresh soup of the day as well as fresh hummus and salsa. It additionally offers pretzels from a local business based out of Brookville.
But the menu could expand as the Hairless Hare explores lunch items — and whatever the Vandalia location offers, the Fairborn location will offer as well, Matt Harris said.
“We’re happy to become part of the community,” he said.