Sep 3, 2021
BATAVIA — When space in Tops Plaza next to Pizza 151 became empty this summer, Eric Levan was ready to take it.
“When Family Video went out, I thought that was a good opportunity to do the beer wall and to expand my dine-in area, and just expand in general, draw in some more people,” the Pizza 151 owner told The Daily News Thursday. “So, I talked with the landlord and I leased this space as well.”
By mid-August, the expansion to create Pizza 151 Tap Room was finished.
“It took me a little over a year. There were some setbacks with COVID and different things there, but it took us a year to get it ready. I didn’t really have an expectation of how long it was going to take,” Levan said. “I think I did my soft opening Aug. 11.”
The self-service Beer Wall, dining room and kitchen space occupy about 3,000 square feet, the Pizza 151 owner said. Those who dine in will be able to check out the Bills, Sabres, baseball, football, basketball, hockey and anything else that might be on one of seven TVs in that space. There are also three TVs in the men’s restroom and one in the women’s restroom.
The dine-in area seats around 80, Levan said.
The people who have come in since the dining area opened ask Levan about one thing, he said Thursday.
“They typically ask me about the beer wall — how it works, what kind of beers we have, how we charge,” he said.
The Beer Wall, which offers a choice of several craft beers, is available to customers once they get checked in at the front counter, where they will get bracelets, Levan said.
A customer will scan his or her bracelet, than pour a beer from one of the taps. The prices are per ounce and, as of Thursday, ranged from about 31 cents per ounce for Edmund Fitzgerald by the Great Lakes Brewing Co. and to La Puerta De La Discoteca by Kings County Brewers Collective to 63 cents per ounce for Minkey Boodle by Thin Man Brewery.
“The system keeps track of the price per ounce and how much you pour and gives you a running total,” Levan said. “It’s an open tab system.”
Levan said the beer choices will be changed over time, when it’s time to change a keg.
“There’s some mainstays,” he said. “The Pills Mafia will stay throughout the football season. The Narragansett Lager is going to stay. Juice Bomb is going to stay. I update the beer tap list on Facebook. I’ve really gotten good feedback on this (the Beer Wall) so far.”
There’s an option for those who want to take their beer home, Levan said.
“Any of these beers, I’ll be able to can them into 32-ounce cans, if people want to take them to go,” he said.
Customers can also spend time throwing darts with dartboards available in the new dine-in area.
“We’re looking to get dartboard leagues in here,” Levan said.
Levan said he doesn’t plan a formal grand opening. He said it’s nice to be done with the preparation and be open.
“I was just going to open and let people trickle in,” he said. “I’m hoping that will drum up some talk.”
Pizza 151 is located at 8351 Lewiston Rd. Call 344-2400. The hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.