By Leah Sander
WARSAW — With their combined 45 years in the restaurant business, Craig and Abby McLaren have recently taken on a title they’ve never had before: owners.
On Dec. 9, 2020, the McLarens opened Ledgeview Brewing Co. at 975 Warren St., Warsaw, for carry-out. That was followed by the opening of the dining room on Jan. 6.
The new business is located in the same building where OrthoCity Brewery and Smokehouse had been for a short while.
The restaurant’s specialty is barbecue, with brisket, pulled pork, chicken and ribs on the menu. Also featured are sweet potato “nachos,” which are waffle fries topped like nachos, said Abby.
The brewery part of the business is on hold for the moment while the restaurant is still waiting on the state to finish the licensing process, said Abby. However, once that begins, the couple plans to offer six-10 different types of craft beer.
It will be brewed in small 120-gallon batches.
The name of the business comes from the couple’s former address at Ledgeview Drive where Craig first started brewing. He took on brewing as a hobby when Abby suggested he needed something to help him relax from his time as a chef.
Craig entered a few home-brewing contests and won first prize right at the beginning for his Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. He also took third place in another contest. That led him to considering brewing professionally.
The McLarens have held a variety of roles in the restaurant business over the years: chef, server, manager and bartender. The last positions they had before starting Ledgeview were in Boston, Mass. Craig was the executive chef at the New England Aquarium, and Abby was a server at the Bar Boulud restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Boston hotel.
The couple met while on the East Coast. Abby did an internship for her culinary training at Johnson and Wales University at the hotel where Craig worked. Craig is from Rhode Island. Abby is from Goshen.
The couple has wanted to have their own restaurant for a while. In 2019, a friend notified them that the former OrthoCity Brewery and Smokehouse was for sale.
“We didn’t think we would do it this soon,” said Abby, but the timing worked out. The fact the building had been a former restaurant meant fewer renovations for the couple.
The restaurant’s hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.
She hopes the business is a “warm, welcoming environment” for customers.
“I just want people to come here and have a good time,” she said.