Brewing up new business downtown

Owner Terry Thomson shows off some of his creations.

Photo by Aaron Ricca.

Owner Terry Thomson shows off some of his creations.

KINGMAN – Rickety Cricket Brewing officially fired up its kitchens Monday and according to owners Terry and Stacy Thomson, the place has been packed ever since.

What began as a reopening of the Kingman Club in April 2015 has grown into a 10,000 square-foot restaurant and brewery that is now the largest downtown business expansion in decades.

“I saw the need for good pub food and brew house and had an added desire to add to the downtown brewing environment,” Thomson said of the brewery’s creation. “And of course, to satisfy my love for beer and pizza.”

Tons of steel, brick and wood – some of which from an old downtown barn – have come together to form four levels of dining space including a mezzanine and Cricket’s Nest that can host private parties. There’s also an outdoor seating area in front and in back of the building. Between House of Hops and Rickety Cricket, the building can accommodate 319 diners and drinkers inside. That number jumps with the outdoor seating. There’s also an arcade with 13 classic coin-operated games such as Ms. Pac Man, Centipede and Super Mario Bros.

The brewery added 48 bartending, cooking and serving jobs to the downtown neighborhood. Nucor Steel provided most of the metal used for the streamlined housing and metal-art adorning the outside and bar. That metal decor was the result of months of Thomson’s toiling, grinding and welding.

“This is my own art,” Thomson said.

Rickety Cricket serves a variety of pizza, burgers, appetizers and salads.

Thomson was certified as a pizza chef from the Tony Gemignani’s International School of Pizza in San Francisco and gets all his ingredients fresh. The pizza ingredients are brought in from a Chicago company. The burgers are hand-pressed brisket-blend meat and the buns are baked in-house. The two pizza ovens each cost about as much as a new car and can crank out around 200 pies an hour.

The “Hot Mess” yielded a blend of whole milk mozzarella, fire roasted serrano, jalapeno and red peppers, black olives and pepperoni topped with an olive-sized dollop of ricotta cheese to cool the heat of the peppers.

“The ricotta is strategically placed for that first bite,” Thomson said. “A lot of homework goes into my pizza.”

The restaurant has $7.99 daily lunch specials and for night revelers, Rickety Cricket will serve 12-inch house pizzas Friday and Saturday nights until 1 a.m. the next morning.

There are currently 67 rotating beers on tap along with a full liquor bar. The brewing process is still a few weeks away.

“It’s all on stand-by until I perfect my staff,” Thomson said. “Brewing is full-time work and until they’re firing where I need them, I’ll focus on the food.”

Carry-out service is in the works and Thomson will soon have 28 televisions for full sports-viewing pleasure.

Friday was the first weekend night open to the public and Thomson was circling his staff like a hawk in preparation for what he expected to be a packed house. The customers finishing their lunch Friday – including Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster and Kingman Police Chief Bob DeVries – had nothing but praise for the food. Thomson is fully aware of how his downtown neighbors feel about the boxy-structure that seemed an eyesore at times.

“We know we’re an anchor,” he said. “We’re not trying to take credit for revitalization. We want to help with revitalization. We also want to let other investors know there are things that can be done to continue growth downtown.”

Rickety Cricket is located at 312 E. Beale St. Hours are 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Saturday and Sunday hours are 10 a.m. for brunch. Saturday has late food service until 1 a.m. Sunday. Closing hours on Sunday depend on the end of the last NFL game.

Their website is still in the works, but the menu can be viewed at the Rickety Cricket Facebook page.