Halfway Crooks Beer opened in Atlanta’s historic Summerhill neighborhood in June, 2019. The brewery, co-founded by Shawn Bainbridge and Joran Van Ginderachter with co-owner Tim Kilic, offered beer by the glass or growler in its inviting storefront taproom, plus snacks from a small kitchen, while the covered rooftop patio, with views of the Atlanta skyline, often was crowded on the weekends.
Less than a year later, the pandemic forced Halfway Crooks to make some major changes. While the business had to lay off most of its staff in mid-April, cutting the team down to four people, Bainbridge said, since then they’ve been able to bring back some part-time production staff, and added another full-time person to work the front of the house.
Another new wrinkle is a collaboration with How Crispy Express, a new quick-service restaurant from a team that includes Greg Best of Ticonderoga Club and chef William Silbernagel, that was slated to start construction directly across Georgia Avenue prior to the pandemic. Now, Sundays through Tuesdays, How Crispy has taken over the Halfway Crooks rooftop. And, in a clever take on social distancing, it’s serving chicken sandwiches and nuggets by lowering to-go orders down to the sidewalk in a bucket.
“Basically, our whole thing got put on pause,” Best said, “but we had done a couple of preview events in the Halfway Crooks taproom to start teasing the neighborhood, and our plan was to design a custom sandwich specifically for the brewery. So, early on, we kind of became partners in crime. “Because the Halfway Crooks guys are very similar to us, in that we’re all just a little irreverent, and we want to have fun and bring some humor to all this, rather than all the doom and gloom, we designed the bucket drop,” he added.
By Bob Townsend, for the AJC