For a young couple with two kids, John and Kelsey Plughoff found the dream place to run a business: a brewery on a farm in north Pasco.
The Pasco couple bought the 10-year-old Paper Street Brewing Company last April from Robby Burns. The pub sits on a farm at 241 Fanning Road, about 2.5 miles north of Interstate 182.
“For us, it reminded us of home in Yakima, sitting outside with a fire pit,” John said, “with all of our family and friends around.”
“To us, this is a little slice of heaven,” she said.
Which is why the last few weeks of February were a bit unsettling.
The Plughoffs had been told by attorneys they could use the LLC of the previous owner, enabling them to use that liquor license.
But that wasn’t correct.
“Basically, we had a misjudgment in the timeline from the lawyer,” John said. “So we had a hold put on the liquor license. We’ve worked with the Franklin County commissioners and the state.”
Everyone has been great, John said. It’s just taking a little extra time to get going again.
Paper Street closed Feb. 17, and the Plughoffs re-submitted all the necessary paperwork for a new liquor license.
John told the Journal that he was notified on March 2 that the liquor license was approved. The Plughoffs likely will be back up and running by the time this story is published.
“Once we get the license, we’re off to the races again,” he said.
Meanwhile, the break has allowed the Plughoffs to do some sprucing up.
“We’re giving the place a facelift by redecorating,” John said.
Taking over the business
The Plughoffs had been customers at Paper Street when Burns was the owner. They loved the place.
But Burns was looking to get out. He had moved the facilities from the Parkway in Richland to the farm in 2018, and he was ready to do something else, John said.
Plughoff has his own business as a fishing guide, Plughoff Outfitters, and he easily does 200 days a year of fishing.
But the place was too dear to the Plughoffs to let it die.
“We were told it was going to be sold or closed,” John said. “Basically it was going to go away.”
So John and Kelsey made an offer to buy it, and the place has been theirs to run since.
Burns’ parents, Max and Diana Burns, still own the farmland that Paper Street is on.
“They still come here,” Kelsey said.
Paper Street sells nine or 10 different beers it makes, crowlers (or cans) and has two more taps dedicated to other area breweries.
The beer, of course, is the main attraction.
One of their staffers makes the beer, and “the customer base has told us they believe the beers have improved,” John said.
But Paper Street also sells ciders and wine made by local winery Goose Ridge, plus seltzers in which flavors can be added.
While customers can bring their own food, food trucks are usually at the farm on Friday and Saturday nights, and there is a musician or band playing about once a month. And it’s kid friendly.
Customers aren’t surprised when locals fly in, landing on the grass airstrip during the summer, getting their growlers filled up, and then flying away.
Cornhole tournaments can draw big crowds on the weekends, Kelsey said.
“It’s very much an outdoor venue,” she said. “People come here to sit outside and have a drink.”
The company also offers space to rent with either its hangar or the entire brewpub.
Other than the temporary closure, business has been going well.
“The amount this place has grown is amazing. Business has been up 44% over last year,” John said.
There are nine employees, including John and Kelsey. All of them are either close friends or family.
“Obviously we’re going to grow, but we don’t want to change the atmosphere,” John said. “I don’t want to take this venue and move somewhere else. We’ll have some in-house food, such as some breakfast burritos or personal pan pizzas. But we don’t want to take away from the food trucks.”
After all, the food truck owners are also part of this new family.
Even with this bump in the road, it’s been an exciting time for this couple.
“I love socializing, the customer interaction and meeting new people,” Kelsey said.
John enjoys the challenge.
“I’ve done 13 years as a hunting guide, and either seven or eight years as a fishing guide,” he said. “There is something about the service industry that I like. I’m used to dealing with people. And I get excited about dealing with a business and growing it.
“Growing the business and atmosphere with our friends and family. What’s not to like?”
Paper Street Brewing Company: 241 Fanning Road, Pasco. Hours: 3-9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Contact: 509-460-9814; paperstreetbrewing.com.
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