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Somers Man Hopes Brew Pub Becomes 'Destination Location' in Brewster

By Ashley Tarr:

Step inside of the old Sciortino's Restaurant and it's clear a major transformation is underway. 

Come three months from now, the building will house the Bull and Barrel Brew Pub, a microbrewery and pairing restaurant that is the brainchild of co-owners Wendy Wulkan, of Carmel, and Rick Cipriani, of Somers. 

It will include seating for about 200 people on two levels, a salad bar with seasonal fruit and vegetables from local farms, and a merchandise room with growlers for purchase—all with a country Western flair. 

Work on the interior of the building started about two weeks ago. Since then a slew of trucks have been parked outside as carpenters get to work carrying out Wulkan and Cipriani's vision. 

"Everything that's been done inside here has not been done by a designer, it's been done by Rick and I," Wulkan said. "These are all our personal touches that our heart and soul have gone into. We want to see people's excitement when they come and see it in person."

The finished product will feature 1855 barn wood, which Wulkan purchased in Ferndale, throughout the building, and the handiwork of local craftspeople. Carmel Auto Body is painting the bathroom stalls.

"We're big advocates of hiring and working within the community in which we live in, because it's the community that supports you, so we want to make sure to support it back," Wulkan said. "Almost all our vendors are Putnam County businesses. We've gone above and beyond to deal with American-made equipment, things that are manufactured in America, so we're trying to stay true to the concept we've created, which is very patriotic."

Wulkan, a Carmel resident and co-owner of South Side Inn in Mahopac, has 15 years experience in the bar and restaurant business. 

Cipriani, who lives in Somers, used to own a small brewery. The facility will employ apprentice brewers, but he will be the primary one.

Beers made there will be the only ones on tap, but other brands will be available by the bottle. Eventually the brew pub, which will boast a large bar, may add other microbrewery lines from the area to their draft selection.

The goal is to become a destination location "for people that would never think to stop into Brewster," Cipriani and Walkun said. They are confident that will happen because of the establishment's unique offerings and its proximity to busy thoroughfares—and because of their "loyalty, commitment and passion."

"We're not compromising anything with the outside aesthetics because we want to honor Joe Sciortino and his family, because the town loved him so much," Walkun said, adding that the building fits perfectly with the vision. "Hopefully we become the next Sciortino's."

Walkun and Cipriani are hoping to host a soft opening in January, but the timeline is not definite. 

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Employment inquiries for the Bull and Barrel Brew Pub, located at 988 Route 22, should be sent to career@bullandbarrelbrewpub.com.

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