Water’s End Brewery, Hot Chickn Kitchn detail plans for Fredericksburg Square

by | Jan 25, 2022 | Business News, Business Openings, History, Restaurants

Inside Fredericksburg SquareFor years, the four floors of Fredericksburg Square have housed a number of businesses and organizations. But according to Ryan Sharkey, co-owner of Water’s End Brewery, Fredericksburg Square will soon become more accessible to the general public. “We are gonna let people come in, enjoy these beautiful ballrooms and history,” Sharkey said, “all for the price of a hot chicken sandwich and a beer.”

Sharkey always dreamed of owning a business with his high school best friend, Zach Mote. In 2016, the two of them opened the first Water’s End location in Lake Ridge, Va. Water’s End has a focus on having every beer flavor on tap at all times. Certain beers are always on tap, including the Damn Beer Golden Ale and Don’t Haze Me, Bro! IPA. They always strive to have every flavor profile represented, from a dark and malty stout or porter, to an approachable amber or sour ale. 

In 2020, their success in both business and beer led them to opening a second location at Potomac Mills Shopping Center in Woodbridge. It was in the opening at Potomac Mills that Sharkey and Mote built a relationship with Mike Sarago, owner of the rights to Sweeto Burrito. During the pandemic, Sarago shut down Sweeto Burrito, only to open with a new concept: Hot Chickn Kitchn. According to Sharkey, “They hit the ground flying,” highlighting Sarago’s immense success and popularity with Hot Chickn Kitchn. After being introduced to Fredericksburg, Sarago became intrigued by the character and growth of the city. It was then that he and Mote discovered Fredericksburg Square, and were immediately drawn towards the building’s rich history. 

Fredericksburg Square was built in 1854, the initial construction of which was for a three-story townhouse. The building survived the Battles of Fredericksburg during the Civil War unscathed, and was purchased by the Order of Elks in 1906 and owned by the organization until 1996. After which, the building was re-opened by Van and Deborah Perroy as Augustine’s, one of the highest-rated restaurants in Fredericksburg’s history. A number of other businesses have inhabited Fredericksburg Square over the years, including the Inn at Fredericksburg Square, and a Cabaret dinner-and-show in the third-floor ballroom. These organizations and businesses have housed and delighted residents of Fredericksburg for years, but as Sharkey notes, they have been inaccessible to many. “This is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of downtown Fredericksburg,” Sharkey said, “and it has not been available to the general public.”

According to Sharkey, that availability will soon expand, as Fredericksburg Square will soon be home to both Water’s End Brewery and Hot Chickn Kitchn. The front ballroom will be renovated into a Water’s End taproom, providing guests with the option of seven different craft beers (Sharkey intends to eventually open a biergarten in the back exterior, which will provide for more taps). In addition, Sharkey is hoping for the Fredericksburg Square ballrooms to host weddings, banquets, birthday parties, and any other events that guests would like to have. He has high hopes for the upstairs ballroom, which has the perfect stage to feature local musicians and comedians. 

“There’s no real limits to the abilities of this building,” Sharkey said. 

For Sharkey, this project is a personal one. A Fredericksburg native, he always wanted to open a brewery downtown. And as they renovate Fredericksburg Square, Sharkey is thrilled to provide guests and residents of Fredericksburg with a wonderful experience. 

Water’s End Brewery is setting its goal to open the front taproom in Spring of 2022. You can follow them on Facebook.

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Bill Freehling
Director, Economic Development and Tourism
bfreehling@fredericksburgva.gov
706 Caroline St.
Fredericksburg, VA  22401
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