The Brick is back!

Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
Travis and Kyle Massey (center with scissors) cut the ribbon on Feb. 13 to mark the grand reopening of the Red Brick Tavern in Lafayette. The brothers are the new owners of the restaurant and bar. Standing in the newly relocated bar section of the business, they are joined by Madison County Chamber of Commerce members, staff members, family, and other supporters.

(Posted Feb. 15, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Shuttered for four years, the historic Red Brick Tavern in Lafayette officially reopened on Valentine’s Day to a packed house. The new owners said they are already feeling the love.

“We had no idea the following this building had,” said Kyle Massey, who owns and operates the business with his brother, Travis.

“Even though we’re from a bigger city (Lewis Center), we were raised old-school, so we like the atmosphere here and how everyone is always helping each other,” Travis said.

Kyle previously worked as assistant food and beverage director at The Ohio State University. He oversees front-of-house operations at the Red Brick. Travis has always had a passion for cooking and, for the new business venture, honed his skills in several commercial kitchens over the past year. He is the restaurant’s head chef.

Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
The Red Brick Tavern was built in 1837 and served as a stagecoach stop between Columbus and Springfield.

The brothers came to own the iconic restaurant and bar, built in 1837, thanks to a leisurely drive through the countryside over a year ago.

“I collect antique cars. I was in my Model T on Route 40 when I drove by the Red Brick. I had never been to London before,” Kyle said.

He saw the property was for sale, inquired, and the rest is history–a lot of history–which the Masseys are preserving through restoration and remodeling efforts, as well as nods to past menu favorites. (Yes, they will be serving the famous Red Brick cinnamon rolls. Yes, beloved bartender Kelley Meredith, a fixture at the Red Brick for almost 40 years, is back behind the bar.)

Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
The Red Brick Tavern’s dining room underwent floor-to-ceiling renovations.

Kyle and Travis have poured a lot of effort into renovations. One of the first changes past patrons will notice is the bar is now located in what was known as the Presidents Room. The former bar area will become a private meeting space with room for up to 40 people. The switch affords a more efficient use of space, the brothers said, backing the bar up to the kitchen and giving bar patrons more room.

They’ve also reworked the plumbing and electricals, hooked up to county water service, installed new bathrooms, redecorated the dining room, replastered all the walls, restored a lot of the woodwork, and changed out light fixtures. New historically accurate windows are on order.

“Anything you can think of, we’ve been crawling around in it,” Travis said, referring to the wide range of renovations they have tackled so far.

Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
Jon McKanna (far left), executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, presents a proclamation from Ohio Senator Bob Hackett of London to Travis and Kyle Massey (center), the new owners of the Red Brick Tavern. Joining them are: their brothers, Bradley and Adam (on the left); mother, Kelly Robinson, and brother, Darren (on the right).

Still to come, Kyle said, is installation of a patio for outdoor seating, tuck-pointing the exterior brick, and returning the fireplaces to working order. And that’s not all. The Masseys hope to convert the second floor into rooms for short-term vacation rentals, bringing the building back to its roots as a stagecoach stop halfway between Springfield and Columbus. The last time the Red Brick rented out a room was 1937.

“As the building evolves, we want to evolve with it,” Kyle said.

When it comes to the food, Travis said he is going with a small menu to start and will add more items as time goes on. (A prime rib special is planned, as is a children’s menu.)

Currently, entree options include an 8-ounce filet mignon with Bearnaise sauce ($39), salmon with bourbon glaze ($24), and chicken marsala ($24). Each entree comes with a choice of two sides. The alfredo pasta dish ($21) comes with garlic bread and a choice of salad or soup and the option to add chicken or salmon for $6 more.

Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
The receiving room just outside the dining room

Sandwiches include a Nashville hot chicken, reuben, traditional cheeseburger, and tavern burger. Chicken fingers are another option under “handhelds.” All come with housemade fries. Prices range from $14 to $19.

Appetizers are $9 to $12 and include fried onion rings, a giant bavarian pretzel, sliders, jalapeno poppers, mozzarella sticks, and potato skins. Bone-in wings with several sauce choices come in six-, 10-, 15-, 20-, and 30-counts and cost $7 to $29.

For dessert, patrons can choose from a chocolate covered banana for $1, apple pie for $6, or cheesecake for $6. Soups, salads, and a la carte side dishes round out the menu.

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
The new owners of the Red Brick Tavern are paying homage to the building’s past in a number of ways, including preservation of a piece of the 1800s wallpaper that once adorned the women’s bathroom (shown here). They also found a painting in the attic that dates back to 1851; the painting now hangs in the bar.

Travis promises hearty portions.

“We want to make sure you leave full and you leave satisfied,” he said.

As for the brothers’ overarching goal when it comes to the Red Brick experience, Kyle said, “We hope to be a house of hospitality for the community. We also want to be a destination location.”

For now, the Red Brick is primarily open for dinner. Kitchen hours are 4-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 4-10 p.m. Friday; and 12-10 p.m. Saturday.

Kyle & Travis Massey’s Red Brick Tavern is located at 1700 Cumberland St., Lafayette. For more information, call (740) 490-7322.

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