Van Gogh’s moves closer to opening first brewery in Statesboro

Grace Huseth

Statesboro’s first microbrewery will flow into the stomachs of many college students as Christian Bennett, owner of Van Gogh’s and GATA’s, projects the pizza joint’s opening for the coming weeks.

The restaurant’s first presumed opening date of August fell through, and construction for Van Gogh’s has been underway since early June.

Bennett said that quality is more important than timeliness, but he does hope to open within the next 30 days and will announce the opening date 2 weeks prior.

“We will open when we feel we are ready to go and have all the processes down,” Bennett said.

Bennett has also delayed opening to focus on the quality of the first two beers, Statesboro Blue and Creek Water, which he plans to have brewed before opening. These two labels are creations by Chuck Duffney who relocated to Statesboro to become Brew Master at Van Gogh’s.

“Statesboro Blue is a classic Belgian witbier. It’s a smooth, easy-drinking beer with lots of wheat and orange peel,” Duffney said.

It is brewed from organic crops and has hints of citrus and coriander, and the second beer, Creek Water, is a stout beer named after Eagle Creek, Duffney said.

Bennett said he is excited about the further promotion of Statesboro Blue.

“We feel like we have some of the best beer and pizza to offer. We’ve been to some festivals and have gotten a tremendous response for Statesboro Blue,” Bennett said.

A deck was added between GATA’s and Van Gogh’s to connect the two bars.

The new addition creates a boardwalk atmosphere where customers can walk between the two restaurants and hang out, Bennett said.

“We have something to offer to everyone at this location. Van Gogh’s has gourmet pizza and handcrafted beers where GATA’s has burgers, wings and sports. At Van Gogh’s we want to bring people together in a more social setting,” Bennett said.

Chef Louis De Lorenzo will create gourmet pizzas exclusive to Van Gogh’s.

De Lorenzo, who Bennett calls “the pizza master,” is from Rome, Italy and has over 30 years of experience creating pizzas.

He has added 15 gourmet pizzas to Van Gogh’s menu and customers can try their hand at creating their own combinations with build-your-own pizzas, Bennett said.

Chianti Cone, junior general studies major, said she is looking forward to Van Gogh’s opening.

“I love pizza, and the fact that it’s a pizza place makes me even more excited,” Cone said. “They have a bar, so that’s even better.”

Bennett said he created the vision for the design and will use minimalistic artwork to extenuate the custom made tables and bars he collaborated on with carpenters.

Van Gogh’s business hours will be the same as GATA’s, but closing time may extend to 2 a.m. so customers can grab late night snacks.

“We want people to come down and enjoy slices from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. and serve food,” Bennett said. “We have a lot of experience and a lot of really good, unique products lined up.”