Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

Eli Fish Brewing Company

September 11, 2022 - 11:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oktoberfest, Eli Fish Brewing Company, Jackson Square, batavia, news.


Eli Fish hosted its fourth annual Oktoberfest Saturday at Jackson Square in Batavia. As promised by organizer Adam Burnett, the event was overflowing with attendees, as the ever-popular German band The Frankfurters played traditional songs, accompanied by the band's dance troupe. Attendees joined in with the dancing, and quenched their appetites with German-themed brews and food from Eli Fish Brewing Company.













Joanne Beck contributed to this article. Photos by Howard Owens.

September 8, 2022 - 7:34pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Eli Fish Brewing Company, batavia, notify, Oktoberfest.


In the mood for some German fruited lager? It’s like a pilsner that’s “bombarded” with notes of prickly pear and blood orange.

“It’s crisp, dry and refreshing, but floral and fruity,” chief brewer Adam Burnett says. “It reminds me of the Southwest.”

That craft brew will be one of three available at this year’s Oktoberfest hosted by Eli Fish Brewing Company. Burnett has been at the brewing helm for the last four years, and involved with the traditional October celebration for the last three. After living in California for 15 years, Burnett didn’t get to experience many of the German-themed events, and this one’s been growing on him.

“It’s becoming (a favorite) … definitely one of the best days of the year,” he said during an interview with The Batavian.”

The fourth annual Oktoberfest has been scheduled earlier this year — at least one week before most fests begin — as a way for people to participate before other events get going. It’s set for 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Jackson Square in downtown Batavia.

“We’re excited to see if being one of the first ones brings the energy up even higher,” Burnett said. “Last year we had it at the end of the month, and some people said they had been to four others already.”

Founded in Munich, Oktoberfest this year runs from Sept. 17 through Oct. 3. According to Britannica.com, the festival originated on Oct. 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. But does anyone really care much about the origins of an event that’s filled with German food, beer, music and dancing?

And there will be all of those things, Burnett said. The Frankfurters, a band so popular it has to be booked two years out, will take the stage while its complementary dance troupe whoops it up. Promoted as “the best of the wurst,” the Buffalo performers are dressed to the nines — neuner in German — in lederhosen (leather shorts with suspenders) for the men and dirndls (short swingy dresses with ruffles or a half-apron and peasant-style blouses) for the women.

“It’s just wild, they’re so entertaining. It’s a hoot,” he said. “They’re very fun to watch, very engaging.”

The band is already booked for Eli’s 2023 festival due to its popularity, he said.

Burnett looks forward to pulling on his lederhosen and fully embracing the part, he said. In fact, one can expect Eli Fish staff to be dressed accordingly, he said, and attendees are encouraged to do likewise. Since there is so much activity in the Square — lively polkas, a beer tent and all — it is suggested not to bring a lawn chair to the event, he said. But do wear your dancing shoes.

Another beer at the event will be a standard amber lager and a festival German blond beer, “a step-sister to the amber,” Burnett said. Aged in an oak versus steel container, it has “a nice oaky” flavor, he said.

A 2003 Batavia High grad, Burnett is happy to be back home. He had been a professional brewer in Chicago for three years when Eli co-owner Jon Mager gave him a call. Burnett moved back and sees this gig as a long-term venture. He promises three stellar brews at the Square, with another 23 on tap inside Eli Fish at 109 Main St. It’s not much of a walk, just up the back steps from the Square.

Of course, there will also be bratwurst, huge pretzels and other German fare for the choosing, and some benches outside to grab a seat and a bite.

The mayor of Munich taps the first keg to open the festival every year in Germany, and the total beer consumption is nearly 75,800 hectoliters or about 2 million gallons. This weekend’s event may not reach that volume, but plenty of fun is to be had, organizers said.

Admission is $8 presale and $10 at the door, and each ticket includes one free beverage. There are a limited number of tickets, and Burnett advises buying them sooner than later. They may be purchased at Eli Fish or online.

Photo: Via The Frankfurters website.

September 8, 2022 - 4:28pm


Myrin and Dannielle Lumpkin are excited, to say the least.

The Batavia couple is in progress for an October ribbon-cutting of Mama Dee’z Kitchen in its new location at Eli Fish Brewing Company.

“It’s happening,” Dannielle said. “October 1st.”

In August, the Lumpkins shared with The Batavian at the Italian Fest that their hopes were on the possibility of moving into the downtown restaurant and brewery. 

At a more recent event, they informally disclosed that it’s coming true, and Eli Fish co-owner Matt Gray confirmed the news this week. Papers have been signed, he said.

The former catering company will now be serving dine-in meals and takeouts, plus be available through Grub Hub, Dannielle said.

She has also posted the news online: “what a blessing,” she said.

The Eli Fish site at 109 Main St., Batavia, has housed prior catering and restaurant set-ups as an incubator style: starting small and learning the ropes before expanding into bigger solo establishments.

Eden Cafe & Bakeshop was the last occupant at Eli, and it moved over to Ellicott Street a few months ago as a successful vegan eatery.

Mama Dee’z specializes in homemade sauces and features soul food and Caribbean flavors, barbecues, chicken wings and a slew of spicy jerk and saucy glazed meats and fish.

For more information about Mama Dee'z, click HERE.


Top File Photo: Dannielle Lumpkin serves up some rasta pasta during this year's Italian Festival downtown. Photo by Joanne Beck. Above, she stands in front of her new work space at Eli Fish on Main Street, Batavia. Photo from the Mama Dee'z online site.

September 8, 2022 - 3:00pm

Come out to Eli Fish this Saturday from 5 pm - 10 pm to celebrate our fourth annual Oktoberfest! Slap on your lederhosen and dirndls and come celebrate this year's Oktoberfest with us at Eli Fish Brewery in Batavia, NY! This year we'll be featuring live music by the Frankfurters, traditional Oktoberfest dancers, our very own craft beer, games and more! This is not an event to be missed!

  • $8 Presale tickets
  • $10 at door


September 4, 2022 - 8:02pm


The American Warrior Festival organization hosted a music night at Eli Fish Brewing Company to show appreciation for those currently serving in the military and for veterans of all eras. 

Performers included Joel Russlett (top photo), Billy Lambert, Travis Mackie, Rich Hancy, Josh Ketchum, and Monica Hall (bottom photo).

Photos by Howard Owens




August 17, 2022 - 9:05am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Eli Fish Brewing Company, batavia, notify.


Zac Condidorio presented a project to expand the offerings, seating and view at Eli Fish Brewing Company during Tuesday’s city Planning and Development meeting.

There would be a wood frame deck, two levels, a patio furnace, brand new canopy to replace the old one, catenary lighting and a brick veneer, said Condidorio of Whitney East Inc. in Rochester. There was only one question neither he nor any committee members knew: was the building on the National Register of Historic Places?

Gray had originally proposed a more elaborate — and costly — “rock cage enclosure as a bench, with some wooden seating” that turned out to be too expensive, Condidorio said.

“He’s eliminated that thought process,” the contractor said. “To make the barrier between the public and the brewery is to have movable planter boxes, and basically, you can move them so that the city can maintain the space in the wintertime.”

There would also be a gate system for people to enter and exit between Jackson Square and the brewery at 109 Main St., Batavia.

Committee Chairman Duane Preston asked about the fire pit that is in the blueprint. That’s “not in my contract,” Condidorio said, “I don’t know what Matt is doing with that.”

Gray, operating under AGRV Properties, Inc. applied for the permit and approval for the approximately $140,000 addition to be built onto the back of Eli Fish and facing Jackson Square. He has also applied for a $20,000 grant from Batavia Development Corp. from its Revolving Loan Fund monies.

BDC’s board and City Council approved the request. Aid from grant funding will allow the applicant to replace the rear, exterior stairs and doors and assist in the cost of adding a large two-level patio attached to the rear of the building.


Condidorio’s building permit application is to construct a wood frame deck with steel frame wall mounted canopy and permanently installed patio furniture with a barrier at the rear of the property. The canopy will be clear roofing material so that the canopy stands out with the decking. There will be some ground level seating, which extends out to the property line, he said, pointing to the enlarged blueprint he displayed for committee members.

Modern catenary lighting, he said, which forms a curve with lights hanging freely from a wire, rope, or chain from two points that are not in the same vertical line, will be featured. Lighting is to flow downward, with no uplighting mapped into the project, he said, emphasizing that it’s to be an industrial style vibe.

Since there are apartments in and around the square, a committee member asked about disturbing neighbors and hours of operation. Condidorio believed Eli was open to 11 p.m., he said, and reviewed the lighting again. According to the company’s online hours, they go to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9 p.m. on other days.

Gray, who was not able to make the meeting, was relieved to receive a thumbs-up on the project, except for the historic register question. Turns out he knew the answer.

“Yes it is. It was added to the registry in 2018,” Gray said. “We are excited to be able to move forward with Eli's beer garden in Jackson Square. It is a project that's three years in the making, and (he and partners are happy) to finally get to this point in the project. It will seat up to 60 guests on two levels, half which will be covered.”

Condidorio was anxious and ready to begin work on the patio as soon as possible, he said. Eli Fish should be ready before the next Jackson Square concert series, Gray said. 

“We are expecting a May 2023 grand opening on the space,” Gray said.

The Batavian left messages with Preston and Code Enforcement Officer Douglas Randall regarding if and how being on the National Register will alter any of the construction plans or process.

To view the project, click here.

Top photo: Contractor Zac Condidorio shows one of the blueprints of the Eli Fish patio project; the rear space at present to be converted. Photos by Joanne Beck.

June 12, 2022 - 7:43pm


A sunny Saturday brought out folks to eat, drink and be merry for the first-ever Eli Fish Carnival in downtown's Jackson Square, Batavia. The event included the brewery company's special craft creations and restaurant favorites, Matty's Pizza slices, live music, vendors and a guest with a few tricks up his sleeve, photo below. 

From left to right, Claire Isenga from New Haven, CT with her children, Henry, 1, and 3-year-old Isla Isenga, spend time with their grandfather, Terry Vanderberg from Batavia, as they watch Jim of Just Clowning Around do a magic trick with cards during the Eli Fish Carnival Saturday in Batavia. Photos by Nick Serrata.


June 8, 2022 - 6:00pm

Eli Fish is hosting our first annual Carnival and we're throwing it for the adults in the area that just want to have fun and not worry about bringing the kids for one night. Face paint? Check. Magicians? Check. Live music? Check. Dunk tank? Oh you know it. We'll have beer pong, craft beer, axe throwing, and so much more! So come on down and take a break with us this Saturday from 4 pm - 10 pm • Jackson Square, Batavia! Click here for more information and purchase tickets.

June 4, 2022 - 9:00am


The chance to wed two great flavors was also an opportunity to bring two local companies together to develop a new product that helps both mark their business anniversaries, said Jeremy Liles, owner of Oliver's Candies in Batavia and Elba.

Hence, Oliver's Candies and Eli Fish Brewing Company have collaborated to bring Genesee County its own local version of beer brittle -- peanut brittle with a beer base instead of water to give the candy an added flavor dimension.

"I like the collaboration amongst businesses, and with this being our 90-year anniversary, I thought it was a fun project," Liles said. "I love Eili Fish and eat there often and those guys are great over there, so that's what I liked about it, just the whole collaboration idea and experimenting with something new, and introducing something new to our customers."

Master candy maker Doug Pastecki said he and Liles have been fascinated with the idea of beer brittle since reading several years ago about a collaboration in California between a candy company and Anchor Steam Brewing.  At the time, there was no local brewery, and using a mass-produced beer wasn't appealing so the idea got shelved.  As Oliver's 90th anniversary approached, Pasteck and Liles were casting about for a new product idea when the trade magazine re-ran the beer brittle story.  With Eli Fish coming up on its fourth anniversary, it seemed like a perfect time for the two companies to work together.

"We got together, we picked up the beer and we got it right in the first shot," Pastecki said.

The beer is a sweeter beer with a complex malt flavor, "Bad Bad Le Roy Brown," an Eli staple.

Malt, sugar, and peanuts go great together, Pastecki noted, and of course, peanuts are often served in bars so that aspect was also a natural fit.

That doesn't mean there wasn't some R&D involved in the process, said Adam Burnett, master brewer for Eli.

"When you just eat a lot of candies, drink a lot of beer, and figure out what goes well together, that's the fun part," Burnett.

Burnett said he was also energized by the opportunity to collaborate with a local legendary company, and from an industry he hasn't previously worked with.

"I definitely have a bit of an MO for doing collaborations by any means necessary," Burnett said. "I think it raises both brands. Every other collaboration I've done has been with breweries, which is a lot of fun for me, but this is outside my wheelhouse. I got to learn about what's going on here. Getting to learn about the history of Oliver's and getting to take part in something for a big anniversary for them is special for me. At Eli Fish, we're the new kids. It's nice to be taken into the old guard a bit."

The beer brittle is being sold at both Oliver's Locations -- Batavia and Elba -- as well as at Eli Fish.

Photos by Howard Owens.







May 9, 2022 - 10:09pm


It began as an ax-throwing event at Eli Fish Brewery on Main Street and morphed into an indoor and outdoor carnival with live music, magical entertainment and assorted carnival-type food, Sydney Carli says.

And the first-ever Eli Fish Brewery Carnival was born.

The City Council approved the event Monday. It is set for 4 to 10 p.m. on June 11 at the brewery and in Jackson Square.

“I’m really excited; it should be a really fun day,” Carli, the event manager, said Sunday to The Batavian. “We’re trying to get pop-up tents for people to sell their crafts and art. It would be awesome to get as many as we can; it’s for anyone who wants to sell their stuff.”

Ax-throwing made the cut, so to speak, in the line-up of activities, and that will be available at the brewery, 109 Main St., Batavia. Craft vendors, a dunk tank and fortune-teller, corn dogs, Italian sausage, Sage Farms maple cotton candy and “delicious frozen maple drinks,” a return of Matty’s Pizza, plus a fun magician book-ended by live bands, including Jim E. Leggs Trio Noah Gokey. The trio, named after a popular phrase coined by Kramer in the TV comedy Seinfeld -- "Jimmy legs" --  is described as "somewhat of a hybrid band ranging from a Latin-infused take on Nat King Cole's Nature Boy to updated arrangements of The Beatles, Steely Dan and Sting. The musicians offer an upbeat, fun and varied mix of Jazz, R&B and Pop that will lift your spirits, their website states. Noah Gokey is an eclectic indie rock band billed as a diverse blend of sounds from folk, blues, country, and jazz to reggae and heavy metal. 

“It’s a really cool opportunity to have a carnival, go and have some drinks, listen to music and see magic acts,” Carli said. “It’s an awesome day where people can come and eat, drink and have fun.”

Craft beers and Eli Fish food, plus the maple treats, will be available for purchase. GLOW Out is also having an event that day, and she is hoping that people will head over to the square to finish their Saturday at the carnival.

(GLOW OUT! plans to host a parade and festival from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 11, beginning on Alva Place and ending in the Batavia City Centre parking lot. For more information, call GO Art! at (585) 343-9313.) 

Tickets for the carnival will go on sale soon at EventBrite.com, Carli said. For vendors interested in reserving a spot, email [email protected]

April 25, 2022 - 10:44pm
Video Sponsor
Video: 2019 Ramble Music and Arts Festival


There’s one thing for certain with the City of Batavia lately: entertainment is not taking a back seat to anything.

Live and DJ music, arts, a dunk tank, parades, dancers and food will be filling up calendars from May 30 to July 2 now that City Council has reviewed the requests and passed them on to a business meeting for official votes.

During its Monday conference session, the council looked over several requests for downtown events, from an old standby, the Memorial Day parade, to a new happening of a carnival.

Participants will be lining up at Eastowne Plaza the morning of Memorial Day and walking along Main Street to Bank Street, settling into the city parking lot on Alva Place. A yearly event to honor military veterans, the parade is being organized by City Council member Bob Bialkowski. It’s to begin at 9:45 a.m. and end before 11 a.m.
For more information about this event, go to: www.batavianewyork.com

Next up is a GLOW OUT 5K Run and Celebration that begins and ends at Centennial Park. This event is set for 5 to 9 p.m. on June 9.

GLOW OUT also has scheduled a parade and festival from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 11 at Batavia City Centre parking lot downtown. Some 15 vendors and an estimated 600 participants are expected for the event, according to the organizer, GLOW OUT President Gregory Hallock. It begins on Richmond Avenue in front of Centennial Park and winds around Bank and Ross streets, Washington and Ellicott avenues and back to Centennial.

Also on June 11 (expected to be very busy Saturday), is the Eli Fish Brewing Company Carnival in Jackson Square. Various food dishes from Eli Fish, beer, carnival games, a dunk tank, live entertainment and vendor booths are on the event menu from 4 to 10 p.m.

Council members had few, if any, questions or comments about the events, all of which have completed event request forms and supporting documentation. Council President Eugene Jankowski noted that the GLOW OUT parade is on the same day as the carnival, but there shouldn’t be any conflicts.

“I know these are two on the same day, one is in the square and the carnival itself is not going to require anything from the city,” he said. 

For more information about the carnival, go to: https://www.facebook.com/elifishbrewing/

A former Ramble event that now includes a GO ART! Music and Art Festival, is set to run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 2 downtown. Two stages for music from 20 to 30 bands, an Artisan Alley of artist demonstrations, an arts and craft vendor fair, food trucks, a folk art stage with dancers and other performers and a children's craft area will spill out from Jackson Square onto Jackson and School streets and into a portion of the Save-A-Lot parking lot.

Costs for these events include $2,571 for the Memorial Day parade, with $922 for city police and $1,649.17 for the Bureau of Maintenance; $538 each for the GLOW OUT 5K Run and Celebration and parade and festival ($1,076 total); $538 for city police and $919.29 for the GO ART! Music and Art Festival and no costs involved for the Eli Fish Carnival. 

The following disclaimer is included on the Event Summary page of the council’s meeting packet: 

“Event sponsors are responsible for any costs that may be incurred from their event and have been made aware of estimate costs, if any.”

Bialkowski wanted to clarify how conference meetings work, given that council seems to be voting once at a conference and then once again at a business meeting. 

“I think we’ve been remiss in conference meetings,” he said. 

Council gives a general consensus agreement about moving the agenda item forward to a business meeting, Jankowski said. “There’s been some confusion that we’re voting twice,” he said. The consensus is merely a group agreement to put the official vote onto the business agenda after discussing details in a conference work session, he said. 

The next council business meeting will be at 7 p.m. May 9 in Council Chambers, second floor, City Hall.

March 18, 2022 - 11:43am


It was back to normal for Batavia on St. Patrick's Day on Thursday as revelers hit the local dining establishments and watering holes to party in public for the first time on the holiday in two years.

We visited O'Lacy's, Center Street Smokehouse, and Eli Fish Brewing. The Rince an Tiarna Irish Dancers performed at both Center Street and Eli Fish.














June 25, 2021 - 6:09pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Eli Fish Brewing Company, J.J. Newberry.



Sight unseen.

The people who have signed contracts to rent the new third-floor apartments above Eli Fish Brewery Co. at 109-111 Main St. did so even before seeing the finish product, according to the building’s co-owner.

Matt Gray, who led a group of government and municipal agency officials on a tour of the apartments this afternoon, said the two two-bedroom and one one-bedroom units were rented about three months ago – well before completion.

“Yes, it was unsolicited,” he said. “We started receiving phone calls and emails down at Eli (Fish) wondering if we had apartments available. We told them that they were under construction and they still wanted to see them. And all three of them ended up being rented in March.”

Gray said the woman who is renting one of the two-bedroom flats in the historic J.J. Newberry building picked up the keys today and will be ready to move in on July 1.

“It really was the first time that she has seen it since drywall started to go up. She was very excited to see how it turned out,” he said, adding that none of the tenants (some are in their 30s and one is retired) are from Batavia.

The two-bedroom apartments are renting for $1,100 per month and the one bedroom is going for $800 per month.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., one of the people invited for a sneak peek, called the apartments “absolutely beautiful and I would love to live in an apartment like that as a young person or retired person.”

Jankowski said Gray and co-owner Matthew Boyd are fulfilling city leaders’ mission of creating a vibrant Downtown.

“That’s exactly what I had envisioned when they talked about apartments and people living above businesses and bringing a downtown neighborhood back to our community,” he said. “That’s a perfect place to start.”

Gray, when asked why people are being attracted to living above downtown buildings, said it was a matter of walkability.

“It’s a lifestyle. People that are looking to live Downtown want to be able to walk to entertainment, to dining, to shopping,” he offered. “One of the gentlemen who is moving in is excited because everything that he wants to do is nearby – even walking to the Muckdog game or the farmer’s market. It’s all right here.”

He said the demographics of tenants in the building’s seven apartments (there are four apartments on the second floor) are across the board.

“Whether they’re young or retired even, the desire is there to be social and to walk to where they want to go,” he said.

Construction of the new apartments was aided by a $137,600 grant from the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative, facilitated by the Batavia Development Corp., NY Main Street program, and a grant from the DRI Building Improvement Fund.



Photos at top: Matt Gray, center, conducts a tour of the new third-floor apartments above Eli Fish Brewery Co. on Main Street, Batavia, as, from left, Chris Suozzi, Penny Kennett, Mary Valle and Mark Masse look on; kitchen area of the one-bedroom apartment. Photos below: View onto Main Street of the front apartment; the large kitchen/living room of the two-bedroom unit at the rear of the building. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

June 24, 2021 - 3:15pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, J.J. Newberry, Eli Fish Brewing Company.

Matt Gray, co-owner of the former J.J. Newberry Building at 109-111 Main St., Batavia, is proclaiming “mission accomplished” as construction of a trio of third-floor apartments has reached the finishing touches stage.

“The building is finally 100-percent complete,” Gray said this afternoon. “Bringing people Downtown, that’s the whole idea behind it. We’re looking forward to a good 2021.”

Gray and partner Matthew Boyd have a reason to be proud as they, along with Eli Fish Brewery Company co-owner Jon Mager, have coordinated the transformation of the building (that was built in 1881) into a Downtown destination.

The entrepreneurs have invited the media and a select group of community officials connected to the project to attend an open house at 4 p.m. Friday (tomorrow) where tours of the apartments will be conducted.

Gray said that Whitney East Inc., of Rochester, was the general contractor for the apartment project that began in January. Two of the apartments have two bedrooms and the other has one bedroom.

All are equipped with high-efficiency washers and dryers and stainless steel appliances.

Gray said that tenants will be moving in on July 1, and that all are being rented at market rate – around $1,000 per month.

In 2018, four apartments were put into the second floor, with Thompson Builds as the general contractor. The building’s first floor houses Eli Fish Brewing Co. and restaurant, and Eden Café & Bakeshop.

Previously: BDC director points to Eli Fish/Newberry project as shining example of agency's value

May 11, 2021 - 3:21pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Eli Fish Brewing Company, Sanzo Beverage, muckdogs.


Eli Fish Brewing Co. is counting on Sanzo Beverage to distribute and promote its core brands, with the goal of introducing Western New York to the independent brewery’s expertise in the craft beer industry and to attract beer lovers to the City of Batavia.

Owners and key employees of the two Batavia businesses announced the joint venture Monday afternoon at the Eli Fish location at 109 Main St.

“We’ve been established as a maker of fine products and for our restaurant in Batavia and we just celebrated our third anniversary,” said Matt Gray, Eli Fish co-owner. “We’ve grown each and every year, and the next logical step is to start this distribution in our own home territory and we’re really thrilled about partnering with Sanzo Beverage.”

Rick Sanzo, owner of Sanzo Beverage, which has been in Batavia since Jan. 1, 1995, said his distribution system is set up for Eli Fish to grow its market share.

“I always told Matt that I would be interested in being a part of Eli Fish if the opportunity every arose,” Sanzo said. “Now, they are making enough beer – they have the tanks to support a mobile canning line – for the hauling of cans and kegs (draft beer). Matty finally let me know that they had the capacity, that they could branch out and we were very interested in branching out with them.”

Sanzo said his company currently trucks beer to Genesee, Wyoming, Orleans, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties and has a group that will distribute it to Erie, Niagara and Monroe counties.

“Batavia is making great beer and Adam (Burnett, the head brewer at Eli Fish) is very well respected in the brewing industry. If we can get it into people’s hands and make Batavia a destination – get people to come here and try the beer – we think it’s great for our community as there are a lot of locally owned businesses that people can go to here.”

Initially, the plan is to distribute three principal brands -- Strange Days, a Scotch ale; Pillow Talk, a witbier (Belgian wheat), and Maple Blueberry Sunshine, a Six Flags Darien Lake co-branded product. The latter is brewed, packaged and sold by Eli Fish for Darien Lake to sell under its name.

“We’re excited about the initial launch of Strange Days, Pillow Talk and Maple Blueberry, both in cans and draft,” said Mark Stark, vice president/craft for Sanzo Beverage. “The nice thing about having a hometown brewery in our network is that if you have the obscure place that is looking for something a bit different, Eli Fish has 23 varieties on tap. We can come and get them because they’re right in our backyard, and we are able to provide these brews to our customers.”

Burnett said that 23 of the 24 beers on tap at the brewery are Eli Fish-made beers, with the other being a cider that is mixed outside of Batavia.

“We have light lagers, pale ales, IPAs (India Pale Ale), stouts, sours, fruited beers and seltzers,” Burnett said. “I try to keep at least two or three of each of those on all the time.”

Eli Fish co-owner Jon Mager handled the brewing on a full-time basis when the business opened, but now assists Burnett.

“I was brewing everything for about a year but working with my other day job (as the owner of Arctic Refrigeration), it started to take a toll,” he said. “I knew Adam from high school and we brought him in full time. Now, I relieve Adam when he needs a break.”

Burnett pointed out that they get all of the malt needed for the brews from Batavian Ted Hawley, who provides it from his Bank Street Road location.

“About 95 percent of beer is malt while hops are minimal,” Burnett explained. “A normal batch of beer is going to be 500 pounds of malt and five pounds of hops. We dechlorinate city water and use salts to make the profile mimic the styles were trying to create.”

Gray said his company has done “very limited self-distribution to a couple local restaurants in town that we have relationships with (including Alex’s Place, which he also owns).”

Sanzo said his drivers will take the beer to restaurants, bars, stores – any venue that has a liquor license.

“They’re already partnering with Darien Lake so that’s a huge sampling opportunity. Maybe this year, the amphitheater will open up again and we can do some sampling there, too,” he said.

Eli Fish also makes Muckdog beer – the official craft beer of the Batavia Muckdogs, who open their baseball season at Dwyer Stadium on June 4.

Gray said he hopes that getting Eli Fish beer to other locales will result in more traffic in Downtown Batavia.

“We’re a community-focused business and we love being downtown, We chose to be downtown for a reason,” he said. “We hope that people who do visit here walk downtown, go to other restaurants and other bars, and go shopping. It helps the entire community.”

For more information about Eli Fish Brewing Co., go to its website – www.elifishbrewing.com.


Photo at top: Jon Mager and Matt Gray of Eli Fish Brewing Co.; Rick Sanzo of Sanzo Beverage, and Adam Burnett, head brewer for Eli Fish; bottom, Adam Burnett stands next to brewing apparatus. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

April 8, 2021 - 2:45pm


The Batavia Society of Artists held its first -- and they hope it will become an annual event -- Tabletop People's Choice Awards at Eli Fish Brewing Co. in March.  

More than 400 people voted.

The winners and prizes: 

  • 1st Place $100:  Joan D'Alba
  • 2nd Place $50:  Bethany Zimmerman
  • 3rd Place $25:  Brian Kemp

Photos of winning pictures posted in order. Submitted photos.




September 4, 2020 - 3:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, Eli Fish Brewing Company, video.
Video Sponsor

Recorded at Eli Fish, Feb. 15, 2020

July 13, 2020 - 11:36pm

The Batavia City Council is asking the owner of a popular downtown restaurant to go back to the drawing board after deciding not to support his plan to place a tent for outdoor dining in a parking lot next to his building.

Council, at its Conference Meeting tonight at the City Hall Council Board Room, determined that the obstacles identified by City management to the proposal by Vic Marchese of Main Street Pizza Company were valid reasons to reject his “COVID-19 2020 Temporary Outdoor Dining on City Property Program” application.

However, Council members and management said they are willing to work with Marchese on an alternative, possibly exploring the placement of tables behind his building or on the sidewalk in front of his building at 206 Main St.

“I understand that the restaurant business is an extremely competitive business and Vic does not have a lot of area to expand on,” Council Member John Canale said. “He’s at a major disadvantage … outdoor dining is almost imperative. We need to find an option for Vic Marchese to be able to compete with other restaurants who are basically eating his lunch right now.”

Marchese’s proposal was to put up a 15-foot by 75-foot tent, with lighting, in the parking lot on the east side of the restaurant – utilizing seven to eight parking spaces. He then would set up eight to 10 tables, accommodating up to 60 guests, under the tent.

Acting City Manager Rachael Tabelski, referring to her July 7 memo to City Council, read the reasons she and departmental leaders felt the plan would not be feasible.

She cited state building code’s prohibiting tents in a parking space, the fact that the City does not own the entire lot, the removal of prime parking spaces (including handicap spaces) and traffic issues in an already congested parking lot between Main Street Pizza and the building owned by City Church.

The Rev. Martin Macdonald, pastor of City Church, expressed his view of the situation during the public comments portion of the meeting.

“I love Main Street Pizza and I love Vic, but I’m concerned with having an outdoor tent (that would) make traffic more hazardous,” he said. “Batavia Bootery would not have enough parking spaces for their business and I’m very concerned about the square footage being taken away.”

Macdonald also mentioned that it’s already dangerous since cars parked in front of Main Street Pizza block the view of traffic coming from the west.

Canale said he understood the legalities involved, but said “as a council person, I need to protect businesses as well.”

Council Member Paul Viele was the only one to speak in favor of Marchese’s idea.

“Just put the tables up there, let the guy do it and get over it,” Viele said.

Following the meeting, Viele expounded on his thoughts.

“It’s a temporary thing here. Let the guy make some money like every other restaurant’s doing downtown and when the COVID is over, then you’re all set,” he said, adding that motorists would adjust to the tent being there.

“People would have adapted. It’s only a three-month or four-month (situation), however long it takes, and let people enjoy Main Street Pizza,” he said. “I understand Marty’s concern and I understand the Bootery’s concern, but if you look at it, Vic’s going to be taking parking spots from his own place because it’s on the side of his building. And people would adjust to it. It’s a no-brainer, in my opinion.”

Viele called it “unfortunate” that nobody else saw “Vic’s vision” but was pleased that Council is willing to work with Marchese on possible alternatives.

Marchese did not speak during the meeting, but communicated his plight with reporters as he was walking out.

“People aren’t coming in. People don’t like to eat indoors right now; they advise against it. What are you going to do? It’s all over television. Eat outdoors,” Marchese said. “I’ll give you an example. Three Saturdays ago, I left there (his business) at 8 o’clock at night and had one table. I went by Roman’s and I went by Batavia’s Original – packed in the patio, packed.”

Marchese said he’s taken “a big hit” – losing a considerable amount of the business that had elevated him to a lofty place in the pizzeria industry.

“I was named the one of the top independent pizzerias in the United States last year – number 68 in the country,” he said. “I do a big volume and every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, there’s 20, 30 people at the door, and it’s not there right now. Which is understandable. My wife doesn’t want to go out and eat in a restaurant. I need outdoor dining.”

He said he wasn’t in favor of putting tables behind the building (where the exhaust fan is located), but might be open to placing tables on the sidewalk in front.

“But the thing is they want you to keep the tables as close to the building as possible,” he said. “If I can put a table close to the building and right towards the curb, that could work. I could possibly fit eight tables, 10 tables out there, but they don’t want them close to the curb.”

During the early stages of the discussion about outdoor dining, there was some confusion over the “parklets” concept that was featured in a story on The Batavian following a recent Batavia Development Corporation meeting.

Council Member Robert Bialkowski said he was taken by surprise by the City’s approval of having parklets (enclosed outdoor dining areas) in the parking spaces along Main Street. It was then explained by Tabelski and BDC Executive Director Andrew Maguire that the parklets story was a separate issue – something discussed as a possibility in the future.

Bialkowski also questioned the process of developing the temporary outdoor dining permit and balked at the $250 fee attached to it.

Tabelski said she received feedback from Business Improvement District members who believed it would be unfair not to collect a fee and also cited costs involved with the program, including attorney’s fees for drafting the legal documentation.

Council President Eugene Jankowski encouraged Marchese to get together with Tabelski and City staff to explore options.

“It’s not our place to redesign the plan here … but we can’t approve the plan as it is now,” he said.

City Attorney George Van Nest mentioned that the State Liquor Authority carries a lot of weight when it comes to arrangements such as this one and puts an emphasis on safety, even to the point of requiring material barricades to prevent traffic accidents.

Council Member Rose Mary Christian disapproved as well, mentioning that the tent would take away some of the handicapped parking spots.

The debate ended with Jankowski stating he would call a special meeting to approve an acceptable plan, telling Marchese that “we’re not going to give up on you, Vic.”

Meanwhile, Council – during the Business Meeting afterward -- did approve an application by Eli Fish Brewing Company at 109 Main St. for a temporary outdoor dining license agreement.

Eli Fish’s application indicated that 12 tables, serving up to 52 guests, will be placed in Jackson Square, with hours of operation set at 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.


In another development, City Council spoke favorably of the Deer Management Plan Committee's recommendations to cull the deer population in the City, forwarding the draft to its Aug. 10 meeting for an official vote. Watch for more details on Tuesday on The Batavian.

July 11, 2020 - 12:10pm

Watch out, Bambi. The City of Batavia is coming for you.

A three-phased plan intended to harvest up to 60 deer per year with archery-only hunting is expected to be presented to City Council at its Conference Meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the City Hall Council Board Room.

According to memo dated July 6 from Acting City Manager Rachael Tabelski to Council members, the City’s Deer Management Plan Committee, formed in November, has completed its task in the form of a 21-page plan to reduce the deer population within the City limits. The committee was created in response to numerous incidents of property (landscaping/garden) damage, auto accidents and other problems caused by deer.

Working with Robin Phenes, state Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife biologist, and Council Member John Canale, the five-member committee, per the memo, has drafted a proposal that “provides a streamlined program experience and ensures programmatic compliance, program metric tracking and stakeholder/City Council communication.”

In simpler terms, the plan specifies the time frame, five designated hunting zones, and rules and regulations, and includes permit applications, landowner cooperation agreement, hunter applications, waivers and release forms and a proficiency test.

Tabelski spelled out several highlights of the plan:

-- Plan A, hunting during the New York State regulated hunting season; Plan B, an extended hunting season (Jan. 2-March 31); Plan C, archery hunt utilizing bait (subject to Council approval). Times for hunting will be from sunrise to 2 p.m., with no hunting when schools are closed.

-- Five designated hunting zones as identified on an included map, as follows: (1) parcel north of Clinton Street, (2) land in the Naramore Drive area and north, (3) property west of State Street (in vicinity of BOCES) and proceeding north from Lambert Park, (4) Route 98, south of Walnut Street area, and (5) Law Street area stretching almost to Kibbe Park.

-- Hunting will be permitted only after the landowner signs a cooperation agreement form.

-- Tree stands must be used and all hunters must shoot downward. Hunters must be properly qualified and licensed and apply to the City of Batavia to be admitted into the program.

-- The plan is subject to NYS DEC setback requirements pertaining to the proximity of bow hunting to schools, playgrounds, public buildings, etc.

-- The program will run for three years and can be terminated at City Council’s discretion.

Citizen members of the committee are Russell Nephew, Gus Galliford, Fred Gundell, Kent Klotzbach and Samuel DiSalvo.

Council will be asked to vote on forwarding the resolution to a future Business Meeting.

Other topics on Monday’s Conference Meeting agenda:

-- A draft resolution to grant approval to Eli Fish Brewing Co. at 109 Main St. for a temporary outdoor dining license agreement as part of the City’s COVID-19 2020 Temporary Outdoor Dining on City Property Program.

Eli Fish’s application specified that 12 tables, serving up to 52 guests, will be placed in Jackson Square, with hours of operation set at 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

A memo from Tabelski dated July 7 indicated that while the Eli Fish application qualified for consideration, an application from Main Street Pizza at 206 Main St. did not and is not recommended for approval.

Vic Marchese, owner of Main Street Pizza, had proposed to put up a 15-foot by 75-foot tent, with lighting, in the parking lot on the east side of the restaurant – utilizing seven to eight parking spaces. Eight to 10 tables, accommodating up to 60 guests, were to be placed under the tent.

Tabelski spelled out several reasons why the plan would not be feasible:

-- Per the state Building Code, a tent can not be put up within 20 feet of lot lines, a parking space, buildings, etc.;
-- The City does not own the entire parking lot;
-- The application removes several prime parking spaces, including handicap spaces;
-- The one-way street would require a traffic order and, for a temporary dining basis, the City would not be able to facilitate a Local Law change in a timely fashion;
-- A traffic safety issue would occur due to cars coming into the lot off Main Street and backing out of parking spots.

Tabelski wrote that she advised the applicant of the potential problems, but he “was not interested in modifying the application.”

A draft resolution for the Main Street Pizza request is not included in the meeting document packet.

-- A pair of draft resolutions concerning a feasibility study for the construction of a new police station at the Alva Place location and corresponding contract with an architectural firm to conduct the study.

The first resolution asks City Council to transfer $50,000 of the $242,820 in the Facility Reserve fund to an expense account.

The second resolution seeks execution of a contract for $41,200 with Architecture Unlimited LLC, of Williamsville, to provide the recommended square footage, design and layout, ability to expand, regulatory requirements and projected costs for design and construction for both the site work and the actual facility.

-- City Council will conduct a Business Meeting after the Conference Meeting. Agenda items for that session include a resolution to enter into a $328,200 contract with Keeler Construction for the Franklin Street-Richmond Avenue sewer rehabilitation project.

The cost is significantly less than the original estimate of $806,000 because the City altered its plan from a complete sewer line replacement on Franklin Street to an excavated repair of one section and relining of the rest of the line, and then to include relining of the Richmond Avenue sewer ahead of its rehabilitation project in 2022.

May 20, 2020 - 11:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, video, news, the batavian sessions, Eli Fish Brewing Company.
Video Sponsor

We recorded this song, "Good Dogs," with "A" Blues Band when thoughts of a pandemic weren't much on our minds, and before I could finish editing the session, coronavirus hit.

Welcome to spring. I hope you get plenty of time with your good dogs out in the fresh air. Thanks to Eli Fish for use of the space.

Subscribe to The Batavian - Local Matters

Copyright © 2008-2022 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button

News Break