Iron Hill Brewery is on track for its January 2012 opening in Chestnut Hill.
Plans for the restaurant began in March. Iron Hill was originally scheduled to open in late December, but there were a few construction delays.
“They’re still right on track for a soft opening between Christmas and new years,” said Chestnut Hill retail recruiter Eileen Reilly. “They’ll be fully operational after the first of the year.”
Soft openings, she said, are like tests to work out kinks before the restaurant is open to the general public. Attendees generally include a few prominent locals, politicians and press.
“The goal will be to do some practice meals by the end of the year,” said one of Iron Hill Brewery’s founders, Kevin Finn, of the new schedule.
Even with minor setbacks, Reilly said the brewery is currently in its final stages before the big reveal.
“They will be a presence on the avenue in a few short weeks,” she said.
Along with a few final architectural changes to the building — to be sure it has the look of any Iron Hill restaurant — Finn said the restaurant will soon be looking for hires in the Chestnut Hill area.
“We’re starting to look for employees now,” he said. “We’re encouraging [workers to] apply to [the] North Wales and Media restaurants to get trained and be ready to go.”
Finn also said Iron Hill will be opening a small space for training purposes come December.
The restaurant at 8400 Germantown Ave. will hire 80-to-100 part and full-time workers, he said.
Meanwhile, Reilly said she thinks Chestnut Hill residents will be hooked after their first taste of Iron Hill.
“They have the gluten free menus, perfect for families and [those with] special dietary needs,” she said. “It’s a perfect fit [for Chestnut Hill].”
Finn said he and his partners chose the location carefully.
“We’ve been looking at Philadelphia for a while but we’ve always wanted to be in a neighborhood,” he said. “We’re very focused on being a part of the community.”
The restaurant does a lot of charity work, giving partial proceeds to a chosen local charity and setting up nights where locals who come in with a coupon can donate some of the cost of their meal to a given charity.
“What I think the community is going to be surprised at is what a partner they are,” said Reilly.
Chestnut Hill will be the chain’s ninth location, and the first in Philadelphia’s city limits.
Finn, along with fellow brewer Mark Edelsons and restaurateur Kevin Davies founded Iron Hill in 1996 in Delaware.