The creators of Barrel House hope to bring something new to the Quad-Cities with a restaurant focused on family.
After holding a soft opening over the weekend and promoting over social media for months, The Foundry Food + Tap opened its doors Tuesday on Competition Drive, near the TBK Bank Sports Complex in Bettendorf.
The restaurant caters to local families as well as traveling athletes and their families, welcoming them to sit down, have a drink and choose from a wide variety of menu items.
“We want a family, fun-oriented type atmosphere where people know your name, they know your drink, they know what you like,” said Paul Martinez, director of front of house operations. “We want an atmosphere where it almost feels like its family, like you don’t feel like you’re in a business.”
The restaurant offers a range of options including steak, burgers, pasta, salmon and more, and a long list of bourbons on tap. With the close proximity to the TBK Bank Sports Complex, which hosts a lot of youth sports, they also have a large children's menu, with shakes.
“Typically if you go to a restaurant you go to a place that’s a burger joint, or pasta joint or they’re known for their salads, we want to be known for a lot more than just one thing,” David Serrano, director of back of house operations, said.
The Foundry’s menu also includes healthy options with a large selection of fruits and vegetables, Martinez said. The idea was to create a restaurant with the demographics around it in mind, he said.
The menu and concept of the restaurant is new, creating a learning process for staff that involved last-minute changes and working out kinks, Serrano said. No one knows what to expect, requiring the staff to be patient, he said.
To help the staff train, the number of tables served during the soft and grand openings, were limited, owner Michael DeWitte said. They wanted to give the staff a controlled and structured environment so guests have a good experience, he said.
The Foundry has done most of its promotion through teasers on social media, DeWitte said, giving it a community following, and thousands of likes on Facebook before its doors opened, he said.
“People like us and they love us, but they’ve never even seen us or tasted us, if you will, so the anticipation is there,” Martinez said. “Some people call us the most anticipated restaurant in the area in a very long time, and statistically it’s proven itself to be true.”
The Foundry is hoping staff exceeds, not just meets guests' expectations after the success of their soft opening, Serrano said. The restaurant thrives to have good service and a welcoming ambiance, he said.
“We understand being in the area that we are at that we’re going to see a lot of the families, and we’re ready to,” DeWitte said. “We have a lot of places for large groups, and we have something on the menu that I think will please everybody.”