Round Barn announces plans to open restaurant, pub in former Niles church

Published 9:38 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2022

NILES — A local business group announced its plans to open a new restaurant and pub inside a building once home to a Niles church.

The Niles Planning Commission unanimously approved a petition to rezone 501 Grant St., formerly Grace United Methodist Church, from a Low Density Residential District to Office Commercial District during its scheduled meeting Wednesday night at City Hall.

Matt Moersch, CEO of Moersch Hospitality Group – which owns owns and operates Round Barn Winery, Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant, Free Run Cellars and Round Barn Brewery and Public House – would like to change 501 Grant St. property’s zoning designation to Office Commercial District to accommodate The Round Barn’s Grant Street Pub. Moersch said the restaurant and pub, an estimated $1-2 million project, will act as a spot for the community to congregate and enjoy pub-style fare, live music, outdoor beer garden, and award- winning craft beverages. The project is expected to create 40 to 50 jobs in the community.

“We are thrilled to be welcomed into the community of Niles.” Moersch said. “For years, we have been looking for the right opportunity to bring our signature Round Barn experience to the City of Four Flags and are confident we have found it.”

Originally constructed in 1953 and located on the corner of Grant and Lincoln, the former church features vaulted ceilings, high arches, and stained glass. Moersch believes the unique space is the ideal location for guests to gather and experience Round Barn’s highly acclaimed brand of hospitality.

“What started out as a small family-owned winery over three decades ago has become a thriving group of unique entities, each with their own offerings.” Moersch said. “As we look back on our growth, we celebrate all our employees and customers, both past and present, who have joined us on this journey. Without them, we would not be here today nor see the success we’ve experienced over the years.”

Moersch Hospitality Group is looking forward to the opportunities ahead of them as they finalize details and make plans to develop and grow alongside the community of Niles.

Before the property can be rezoned, City Administrator Ric Huff said a rezoning application goes through a review process that includes neighboring property owners, city staff, the planning commission, and finally the city council.

Moersch said that if the property is successfully rezoned, which could take several months, MHG would then pursue the acquisition of the necessary brew, wine and spirits licenses and requirements for the pub. 

When asked about the potential of noise issues, Moersch said that he and city officials conducted acoustic tests and determined that live events would not cause issues.

“I invited (Huff) over to get an idea of the current acoustic values inside and we turned it up to annoyingly high levels where you can’t even communicate to each other,” he said. “We then went outside and we were still at 55-ish (decibels)at the property lines, which is the level of us talking right now.”

If everything goes according to plan, Moersch hopes to open Grant Street Pub in the late 2023 or the spring of 2024.

“We want to be a part of Niles,” he said. “Frankly, we’ve been looking to be in this community for more than a decade and just couldn’t find the right fit and the building is just finally the right one we’ve been looking for. We’re very excited about the acoustic values here and the building is gorgeous.”