WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) – For months, folks walking along the path by the Palmer River in Warren have speculated when and what would open in what seemed like a vacant industrial building next to the Tourister Mill Apartments. This week, they got their answer.
The Guild Warren opened its doors on Wednesday, September 1, on Water Street. It’s the third spot for The Guild, which has operated its successful brewery in Pawtucket since 2017. This is the second summer they’ve also operated a beer garden in Providence, in which co-founder Jeremy Duffy says, tens of thousands of people have enjoyed this year alone.
When asked why he chose Warren for their third spot, Duffy answered without hesitation. “We’ve just been always enamored with Warren. The food scene here is amazing and Water Street is one of the best food streets in Rhode Island, and us to be added to that community, and the backdrop is pretty good too,” Duffy laughed, referencing the many outdoor tables on The Guild Warren’s deck, overlooking the Palmer River and Barrington across the way. He said they also own the land up to the water in front of the building, so he has plans for Adirondack chairs to line that space in the future.
“I think it kind of fit into sort of what we do with authentic communities and to be honest, the Warren location, even if it’s on the water, sort of feels like the Pawtucket beer hall a little bit, and it’s still this industrial feel that we love. So when we saw it, it was a perfect combination of industrial beer hall meets an amazing view,” Duffy said. He added that the craft brew market in the East Bay isn’t oversaturated, and that it was the only brewery in Warren.
We spoke with Duffy about 15 minutes before open on Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, and mid-interview, folks riding their bikes by inquired when The Guild Warren would be opening. “Noon. We’re open at Noon,” Duffy responded.
The two did indeed ride their bikes around and were there shortly after. “Pretty excited about it actually… Looked like this building wasn’t being utilized so it’s nice to have a little bit more business coming into Warren. I think they’re going to do really well,” said Elaine Walen.
There’s a parking lot outside the building, separate from Tourister Mill Apartments. The residents there have been anticipating this opening for months. One resident, Sara Harrison, said, “This is an awesome addition to the mill complex. There’s so much to do. How could you beat this?” When asked about concerns about parking spilling over to the mill lots, Harrison said, “I think any traffic that we can bring and have them be busy especially after the pandemic, this is really exciting, I don’t mind sharing my parking space.”
This opening was delayed for a year, Duffy says, due to the pandemic. The grand opening just so happened to coincide with a deadline for Rhode Islanders to no longer receive extra unemployment benefits. Several restaurant owners have pointed to those benefits as reasons they believed they were having staffing shortages.
When asked how he was able to expand while others were facing such staffing and supply shortages, Duffy said, “I think what we’re feeling here at the Guild Warren is similar to what other breweries and brewpubs are feeling around the state. It’s getting better because people need jobs and they want to do that, but it’s still, from a staffing perspective, it’s still a little difficult. The great thing about us is that we’ve had some very loyal ‘beertenders’.” It’s more the back of the kitchen jobs that are difficult to fill, he added.
In addition to The Guild Warren, there is also Anchor Health and Performance and In Your Ear records store, which already has a longtime location not far away on Main Street.