Puritan expands into former Fayettechill space

Puritan Beer and Coffee / Courtesy photo

A Dickson Street gathering space just added a whole lot more room for gathering.

Puritan Coffee and Beer, the coffee shop and beer bar located 205 W. Dickson Street, recently expanded into the space most recently occupied by Fayettechill to roughly double its size and capacity.

Owner Kevin Frey said he is pumped about the extra space.

“Probably the most exciting part, aside from the big windows and natural light, is just doubling our indoor seating capacity,” he said. “We also have direct access to our own parking now, which I already have an expansion plan for but it’ll be nice to have for a little while at least.”

Frey is also working on replacing some of the decks that surround the business, and expanding them in some areas as well. There will be a covered outdoor space on the Dickson Street side, he said, and a new second story deck area in place of the old vine-covered pergola.

Puritan Coffee and Beer / Courtesy photo

Eventually, he said, the parking area long on the east side of the building will also be converted to outdoor seating as well, he said.

“We’re trying to really step up our outdoor areas so this will all be phased out a little because of how big of a project it will end up being,” he said.

Frey has tapped locals Stuart Fulbright and Jeremiah Harenza of Rift Customs and Jason Thomas of Solo Fabrication for the design and build of the spaces.

Expanding during a global pandemic is a bit nerve wracking, he said, but he thinks the improvements – especially the outdoor seating areas – will pay off in a post-COVID world.

“It goes without saying that this last year has been hell for everyone, especially those in the service industry,” Frey said. “We are very lucky to have survived much less be expanding and reinvesting while it is still going on. I believe people are itching to get out and enjoy being with one another again and I want to be prepared to embrace that when it is safe enough.

Puritan Coffee and Beer / Courtesy photo

“My hope and gut feeling is that over the next few years, if there is ever a “return to normal”, customers will demand clean outdoor spaces to enjoy,” he said.

Frey said he sees the expansion as a way to cultivate a bit of a different experience inside as well.

His original space has become a popular place for studying, meetings, and co-working. The new area, he hopes, will better serve folks just looking to relax. After 4 p.m., there will be no computers or electronics allowed on the newly-expanded side of the bar. The original side, however, will continue to allow for the devices into the evening hours.

“The challenge of coffee and alcohol in the same space is the competing environments they require for enjoyment,” he said. “Let me be clear – we LOVE our college students and remote workers, without them we would not be open today but we also love craft beer, cocktails and an environment that allows for a good time without feeling like you’re in someone’s office or library”

The new indoor spaces are already complete and ready to enjoy, and the first phase of the deck upgrades will be complete in the coming moths, Frey said.

“My hope is to have this phase of the decks and outdoor spaces updated by the end of April but like all projects it’ll probably take longer than we are planning,” he said. “I bet it will be well into 2022 before the entire project is complete.”