A new business will be opening later this winter in the historic lower level of the Armory Building in Downtown Decorah. “Courtyard & Cellar” will be the year-round continuation of the popular but seasonal Courtyard beer garden, opened by Decorah native Nathan Matter in 2012.
Matter, along with business partner Benji Nichols, plan to utilize the long-storied ‘Cellar’ space of the Armory building, offering unique craft beer and wine selections in an equally unique environment. Courtyard & Cellar will also offer large-format bottle beers, wine, and ‘growler’ fills of select craft beers on a carryout basis.
Nichols and Matter have launched a Kickstarter.com crowd funding campaign to help offset renovations of the space and start-up costs. The popular on line platform allows supporters to give money to the project while receiving awards that range from admission to a sneak-preview party this winter, to a Swabian Hall Hog Roast with Iowa’s famed Rustik Rooster Farms, or a special “Armory Edition” SALT/WATER pop-up dinner with Decorah Chef Justin Scardina. Other rewards feature items that can easily ship cross-country, like custom Courtyard & Cellar beer growlers (empty), and “Driftless” t-shirts and posters from Ardvar.com.
Crowd funding is certainly not a new concept, but has not been widely utilized in the Decorah area, save for a handful of creative projects in past years. Both Matter and Nichols felt it was a great way to raise part of the start-up costs while also helping gauge interest in the project, and to allow supporters of the Courtyard a glimpse into the process of getting the new venture rolling. The 30 day campaign goes through January 24th, when the management team hope to have raised at least $8,172 (the population of Decorah!). Kickstarter.com also allows more than the stated goal to be raised and funds will be used in the start-up and build-out process.
The lower level of the turn-of-the-century Armory building has hosted several establishments in recent decades such as McCaffrey’s, the original location of Cho-Sun, as well as an event space for Curley’s Café Deluxe and Sabor Latino. The unique space features large rustic beams and limestone walls, and Matter and Nichols plan to create intimate settings for small groups as well as educational wine and beer tastings, and occasional live music events. A soft opening will be scheduled later this winter. More information can be found at: http://tiny.cc/CourtyardCellar