David Medrano finds Redemption at the Barrel Cathedral
After the Hiway 40 Grill and Lodge Burned down, Medrano started working at the Barrel Cathedral
David Medrano started working at the Barrel Cathedral Brewery three months ago. That’s not where he started the year, however — he was the proud owner of the historic HiWay 40 Grill and Lodge until an electrical fire destroyed the iconic meeting place back in July.
“We’re a business without a home right now and yeah, we don’t know exactly what we’re going to do — we got our investment and stuff back so we’re not exactly like out of money,” Medrano said. “But it’s not really about the money. It’s about the people and the relationships that we’ve built.”
Medrano is one of many people having an unexpected year during the pandemic, one that has seen both highs and lows. After the HiWay burned down, he went on unemployment unsure of what the future held for him before being hired by co-owner and head brewer Christian Dufresne and manager Savanna Crow at the Barrel Cathedral Brewery.
The fact that he would be working for somebody else again was just one more unexpected development for him and his business partner, Jonathan Parker this year.
“I thought I was done for sure and this is teaching me that life is always going to change on you,” Medrano said, “and that you’re always going to have to look at life at a different angle. If you think you’re done learning you’re stupid.”
While Medrano’s ownership of the bar is not changing, where a potentially new iteration will rise again remains unclear.
“I’m already looking for new places because we can’t depend on whoever buys the place to be like yeah, we want you to come in and run this business.”
Medrano does like to look at the bright side of an otherwise bad situation. At least with the fire, Medrano said he doesn’t have to worry about sales being down.
“Something that my wife keeps bringing up to me is this might’ve been a godsend because this whole COVID thing with sales being down by 30% and costs of doing business being up by 70%,” said Medrano, “So maybe this saves us from whatever money we do have, investing it into this business and then maybe you lose your a– on it and then not having that nest egg.”
The biggest thing that he misses about the bar and looks forward to about finding a new place for his bar is the people.
“It’s about the people and the relationships that we’ve built and all the time that we’ve spent, trying to make that place as great as it can possibly be,” Medrano said.
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One of Craig’s most iconic and historic buildings will celebrate its 100th birthday next week, prompting museum staff and supporters to gather on Tuesday to acknowledge the building’s importance to the community.