One of my first interviews/articles was with the ever-kind and entrepreneurial Zack Roskop. He is the mastermind and owner of Knox Brew Hub and Knox Brew Tours and co-host of the Brew Hub Podcast. I took my husband on a brew tour for his birthday with friends, and we had a great time!
Fun Fact: Knoxville Urban Guy and I will be on the Brew Hub podcast on July 24th at 6pm, so TUNE IN or come by and see us live!
I’ve followed Zack and the Brew Hub activities over the last year. He and his team have had accolades and recognition and received acknowledgment for their hard work, which is well deserved. Garden and Gun, Wine Enthusiast, and Sports Illustrated have recognized the Brew Hub’s work and immense contribution to the community.
Several months ago, the Brew Hub branched out to serve limited lunches. The kitchen area was a former storage room. It required moving some equipment to another space and adding shelving and storage solutions to keep the Hub running smoothly while introducing a new service to its patrons. This evolved to serving a variety of hotdogs and local dips throughout the day. While this venture was successful overall, it wasn’t quite meeting the needs that they hoped it would.
As I learned in my first meeting with Zack, his parents, Fred and Trish, ran a successful restaurant business for many years and are now retired. The service industry is not new to him. He says he was always more interested in front-of-house work and being face-to-face with customers, but his brother always gravitated toward the back-of-house. Zack’s parents discouraged the boys from getting into the restaurant business, knowing the challenges it brings, so instead, Zack took his passion for making craft beer accessible to everyone and started Brew Tours in 2014 and then the Brew Hub in 2020. Zack’s brother, Dylan, has also been a part of the Brew Hub, and his parents have continued their support. However, after years of taking his parents’ advice, like most of us eventually do, he is forging his path into the restaurant business. And it is with his parent’s blessing.
Zack told me that after watching person after person walk out of the Hub, once they heard there were only hotdogs served, Zack knew he needed to do more. He wants to avoid creating a business to fit his own needs but wants to meet the needs he sees in the community. This next concept is doing just that.
Fred Beans and Rice is a Cajun-inspired restaurant that will operate out of the kitchen in the back of the Brew Hub. It will be a separate entity, though it will have its home base and signage inside and out of the Hub. The name and the food are inspired by dishes Zack’s father, Fred, perfected when Zack and Dylan were kids. Hence the name Fred Beans and Rice.
I had the privilege to have Zack cook two of these dishes for me, the classic red beans and rice and a dish I am still dreaming about, Soppin’ Shrimp. The red beans and rice were served with crostini and hot sauce on the side and were the perfect blend of spice, smokiness from the ham, and perfectly cooked peppers and onions over rice. It was satisfying, comforting, and filling. Zack told me that this dish would be his last meal if he got to choose. The Soppin’ Shrimp will come in half or full-pound portions of hot peel-n-eat shrimp and are sautéed with lemon and served with the most mouthwatering sauce you may ever try. I wanted to turn up the bowl and drink it. I settled for begging him to bottle it.
The menu will be lots of familiar Cajun dishes that are quick to serve and easy to eat. They will be cooked by Zack himself to start with some help eventually. Serving people good food is a love language that Zack communicates to friends and family, and they will now have the chance to spread that love to the community. Game days may see a limited menu to get food out quickly, but the details are still being ironed out. They are targeting August 15th for the grand opening of Fred Beans and Rice. They will serve lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday with lunch only on Sundays and no food on Mondays. Even superheroes need to rest.
The Brew Hub staff will still be dedicated to serving customers craft beer. Zack’s wife, Amy, will now be working in front of the house, ensuring excellent customer service will remain the highest priority. Zack will manage the back of the house. Amy is leaving the retail world she has inhabited for the last 14 years to come alongside Zack as a partner not just in marriage but now in business too.
The secret to the success of what Zack has done and will do is his commitment to people first. You can see that in the employees he mentors, the community partnerships he has forged, and how he promotes and encourages others’ success.
I’m telling you to run, not walk, to get in line on August 15th. Tell them I sent you. It won’t get you any deals, but it makes me look good!