The idea for the brewery came first. Then Alvin Mullins bought the cheapest building in Nampa that could hold it.
Cheap real estate prices in Nampa have made its downtown a new haven for hipster restaurants and bars. Eying the success of well-established community hangouts like The Flying M Coffee Garage and Messenger Pizza, more companies are looking to build a following in the rapidly growing city.
Mullins has invested $1.5 million to buy and renovate the two-story Dewey Scales building at 1215 First St. South, where he is opening his own brewery and leasing out part of the space to local restauranteurs who will create a new taco and tequila joint called Mesa.
“Our vision is to make it look like Eighth Street in Boise,” Mullins said in a phone interview.
First Street has been undergoing a transformation lately. PreFunk, a craft beer bar, opened four years ago next to Messenger Pizza across the street at 1214 First St. South. In 2015, Kris Wear bought and renovated another historic building for her health food store, World of Nutrition, at 1309 First St. South. And this fall, Adam Haynes, the owner of Rolling H Cycles, bought the building that previously housed the Whiskey River bar at 1314 First St. South, where Haynes will move his business.
Built in 1904, the Dewey Scales buildings’ occupants have included a railway office and, most recently, a used-book store.
Mullins’ brewery, the 2C Family Brewing Co., will specialize in Belgian-sytle beers and German lagers.
“They’re going to be lighter and more appealing to folks who haven’t perhaps found craft beer yet,” he said. He plans to open the brewery in March and offer 16 taps.
This is Mullins’ first foray into brewing. Before, he worked as a software developer and created fantasy sports apps like Fanazer.
2C and Mesa will occupy the first floor of the building, 2C with 3,500 square feet and Mesa with 2,500. Mullins has leased the second floor to Labyrinth Escape Games, an escape room.
Like Mullins, the owners of Mesa call Canyon County home. Shayna and Andrew Randall started out in the restaurant industry by opening the county’s first Dutch Bros. coffee shops. This is the first downtown venture for Mullins and the Randalls.
“We wanted to create a concept that is fun and fast and cool for downtown so that people don’t have to drive so far into Boise,” Shayna Randall said in a phone interview. Their restaurant, which they hope to open in late December or early January, will offer an eclectic mix of tacos, including buffalo cauliflower and Thai chicken flavors.
The Randalls will also operate a full bar. Mesa will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, with brunch served on weekends from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Both Mullins and Randall say they want families to feel welcome.
“Children will be welcome. Dogs will be welcome. Both of them will need to be well-behaved or they’ll be put on leashes,” Mullins said.
Before anyone chomps down a taco or guzzles a brew, both business owners will have to complete renovations. Mullins has stripped the interior walls of their plaster and exposed the red brick underneath. The green tile on the outside of the building is another story: Mullins suspects that it may be holding up the crumbling brick behind it.
Mullins hopes his project will showcase the storied downtown building and provide a local hangout for Nampa’s commuters to Boise. “When they get home, we’ll be open,” he said.
Added Randall: “Hopefully this will draw even more businesses downtown. It’s really going to be a destination.”