The water tower atop the Ninth Street building at Pullman Square stands out a little bit more now with the familiar ewe logo displayed on its side.
Black Sheep Burrito & Brews opened its new, downtown home on Dec. 7, 2017, after months of renovating the former Uno Pizzeria and Grill. And much more than the water tower was updated. The façade of the building at 279 Ninth Street no longer features the traditional red brick and black, white and red awnings. The brick has been painted shades of gray and a steel patio cover installed.
The interior was designed by Ackenpucky Designs and features large statement artwork that fills the lines between modern industrial and rustic.
The appearance might be different, but owner Patrick Guthrie said customers will be able to get the same quality food they’ve come to love and at the same price.
Guthrie, who also owns Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten with partner Jessica Bright, opened the original Black Sheep location on the corner of Hal Greer Boulevard in September 2011, with the idea of bringing something different to Huntington.
“Everything we do, we’re always getting a raised eyebrow,” Guthrie said. “Whether it’s our burritos and our flavor combinations or the German restaurant. We’re trying to do something that’s caught on nationally, but maybe not in West Virginia yet or in our community. I’m trying to bring things that are unique.”
With executive chef Jeremiah Bowen creating the menu, popular street food items have found their way into a brick and mortar location, with a twist.
“It’s not traditional Tex-Mex or Mexican cuisine,” Guthrie said. “It’s playful and I think still on a national level, our flavor components will not be found at another fusion taco spot. Ours are original.”
Burritos run the spectrum from chicken to steak to the more adventurous bulgogi with flank steak and house-made kimchi and smoked cashews or the Hawaiian pork with pork shoulder, grilled pineapple glaze, shaved red cabbage and fried plantains. Or you can try a flock of tacos, with more than a dozen options to choose from, like Thai shrimp, trout, avocado or brisket.
And don’t forget about the torta sandwiches, quesadillas and wings. To wash it down, try a house-made margarita or one of 20 beers on tap, including some Bad Shepherd Beer Company brews.
The Pullman Square location features a larger dining area, larger kitchen space and a dedicated stage, which saw its first act on opening night with Big Rock and the CandyAss Mountain Boys.
Guthrie said moving into the larger, 7,500-square-foot space brings it more in line with the Charleston location, which opened in 2014.
“To get into a bigger restaurant is where we see both Black Sheeps and future Black Sheeps going,” Guthrie said. “We always thought we were a college-based quaint taco spot. But in the end, Charleston has proven that we’re able to maintain a bigger location.”
For those who have special memories of the Hal Greer location and its various eateries over the years, don’t worry — something new is coming in 2018.
“It’s like hallowed ground,” Guthrie said. “It’s housed a lot of important restaurants over the years. We think of it as an incubator for some of our restaurant ideas. The community has really supported us. And that’s our biggest No.1, our customers. As long as they are supporting us, we’ll keep doing things.”
MICHELLE GOODMAN is a freelance writer living in Huntington.