Downtown Lebanon needed another place to eat, so first-time restaurant owner Michael Kapp stepped up to the plate.
Seven months after Foundry Craft Grillery closed its doors, a new restaurant is open for business on the third floor of the Lebanon Farmers Market.
The Red-Headed League Public House launched in November, with Lebanon native Michael Kapp aiming to operate an establishment with broad appeal and fill a void in the downtown dining scene.
“Lebanon is a blue-collar town,” said Kapp. “I wanted to keep the pricing and menu options in line with what I thought fit the community – and if it doesn’t, I’ll change it.
“I’m looking to offer a venue that gives as many people as I can a resource to have a good time, to come into a nice place and get a good meal.”
What’s on the menu at the Red-Headed League?
Kapp describes the Red-Headed League as serving American grill favorites in a pub setting.
“Pretty standard for the restaurants in this area,” said Kapp. “Not doing a whole lot crazy or different. Trying to do the staples well.
Wood-fire pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, wings, French fries and finger foods, soups and salads are featured, while the dinner menu includes “Chef’s Plates” – a selection of higher-priced entrees, like the Red’s Ribeye steak. There are plans in the works for Sunday brunch offerings as well.
Executive chef Alfie Nunez is behind the menu. Nunez previously worked as a sous chef for Foundry Craft Grillery, as well as Allenbury Resort in Boiling Springs.
“We’re on the same page and we’re very aligned as to what we want to offer and the price range, quality range we’re trying to operate in,” said Kapp.
Menu items start at $6 for finger foods and rise as high $27 for the ribeye.
Red-Headed League also offers a full bar, including a cocktail program and craft beer on draft. Being a sports fan, Kapp installed new televisions around the bar area, and there will be live music on select nights as well.
The Worrliow and Steitz rooms are reopened as well for entertaining large groups and parties.
Why open a restaurant downtown?
Over the last year, Lebanon saw trendy dining spots such as Foundry and Hidden Still Spirits pack up and move out of the city. Those defections might give some owners pause about opening a new restaurant so quickly.
“The more I got into, the more I started to think this is a really good fit and need in the community,” said Kapp.
Previously: Foundry relocated to Lititz, changes name
“I live here, grew up here, I’m invested in the community, try to do some things with non-profits. It was another step in that direction where I could kind of invest myself in the community, do something I enjoy, see a bunch of people at the same time and fill a void in the community.”
Kapp isn’t your typical restaurant owner, either. Prior to Red-Headed League, he had no experience in the industry whatsoever.
“My background is in corporate America,” said Kapp. “I wanted to get outside of that, get into an environment where I had control of the reins, and if it failed, it failed because of something I did, and if it succeeded, it succeeded because of something I did.”
He started by surrounding himself with experienced people – Nunez in the kitchen, and his girlfriend, Kelly Boyer, who has over a decade of front-of-house experience.
As plans for the Red-Headed League came together, Kapp also heard from potential patrons.
“There was a lot of community support and backing from friends, family and just random people that just wanted to see another option.”
What’s in a name?
One of Kapp’s most visible and important contributions is the restaurant’s unusual name. The Red-Headed League Public House is different while simultaneously tying back to the community.
The name is a reference to the infamous Blue-Eyed Six of the 1870s murder trial in Lebanon County which made international headlines. “The Red-Headed League” is a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said to be inspired by the events.
Five members of the Blue-Eyed Six were hanged at the site of the Lebanon Farmers Market, formerly a prison.
“I thought that’s a great historical tie-in,” said Kapp, “but I didn’t want to do direct renditions of the Blue-Eyed Six. You see those sort of things everywhere.
“First, the Red-Headed League is kind of sticky, unique. It ties in directly to the stuff that went on in this community. And I’m a redhead, so there’s some irony there, too. It all kind of tied together.”
Red-Headed League Public House is open seven days a week – 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m.-midnight Thursdays through Saturdays and noon-10 p.m. Sundays.
Know of a major or unique business opening in Lebanon County? Visited a restaurant you think should be profiled? Please leave your suggestions with email@example.com.
Read or Share this story: https://www.ldnews.com/story/news/2019/12/13/new-restaurant-red-headed-league-public-house-above-lebanon-farmers-market/4356971002/