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Out with the Pews, In with the Brews

Downed too many St. George’s Green Chile Pepper vodkas at Obed and Isaac’s in Peoria, Illinois? No problem--you can pray for sobriety without leaving the premises, which started out as a Presbyterian church. The 1889 building, a city landmark that’s also on the National Register of Historic Places, was salvaged by the Conn’s Hospitality Group, a family business that specializes in renovating older buildings. The church, also known as the Cornerstone Building, reopened in 2016 as the restaurant part of Obed and Isaac’s Microbrewery and Eatery. The brewery was built next door on the old church parking lot.

With a little TLC, the new owners of this former house of worship were able to preserve most of its century-old materials inside and out. They refinished the pine beams arching over the bar and shined up the original stained glass windows. Daytime diners can delight in the abundance of natural light filtering in from above.


During the building renovation, preservation went hand-in-hand with efficiency. More than 150 interior chandeliers and other light fixtures were outfitted with LED bulbs. Water-saving toilets and faucets were installed, along with a high-efficiency HVAC system. Last but not least, in the true spirit of recycling, Obed and Isaac’s donates spent grain from the brewery to Peoria-area farmers for livestock feed, and to Sparc, a nonprofit which turns the grain into handmade dog biscuits. Dogs visiting the brewpub are welcome to try these goodies, which are available for purchase on site.

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