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Finney’s Crafthouse: A beer garden that’s all about family

This family-friendly California pub is scaling with good beer and scratch-made food at its core.

Sometimes nicknames are so catchy, they just stick around. For Greg Finefrock, or “Finney,” that nickname became the basis for his restaurant chain, Finney’s Crafthouse.

Founded in 2016, this eight-unit chain is all about made-from-scratch foods and good beer.

With 20 years in franchising under his belt, Finefrock was ready to open his own concept. He began his food career as a delivery driver for Domino’s, then after college joined the Baja Fresh family and became a franchisee for that California chain.

After opening 12 units, he decided to become involved with Counter Burger. It was after that experience that he decided to open his own restaurant.

“I feel like I spent 20 years going to every bar, brewery [and] gastropub from Chicago to San Francisco to New York to London, and I kind of learned what I liked and what I didn't like,” he said. “I just took that all in for 20 years, and then finally sold the rest of my restaurants and rolled the dice and came up with Finney’s.”

Finefrock is passionate about making sure the drinks at Finney’s are superior and works hard to ensure that each location is special. That’s done through the beer list.

“Wherever we're opening the location, we'll go out and meet with all the local breweries and then pick out their best beers, so each store is localized on the beer level,” he said.

That’s not all they do for new locations. While each has the same interior — in the style of an old Chicago speakeasy — the concept is embracing history as well. In addition to brick walls and a copper bar, each location has black-and-white photos of the history of the area.

“We hang a lot of old vintage photos of the particular area that we're in; we find black-and-white [photos] from 100 years ago. So we've really localized each restaurant with regard to the design,” said Finefrock. “We really pay homage to the city that we're in.”

He added that each location is appealing to a wide demographic, including families with kids.

For the chain’s upcoming location at the White House — formerly the oldest restaurant in Orange County, Calif. — the name will be Finney’s at the White House rather than Finney’s Crafthouse as an homage to the restaurant that was opened in 1918 and closed due to the pandemic.

Later this year, Finney’s is opening its 10th unit in Redlands, Calif., and its 11th unit in Stevenson Ranch, which is in California’s Santa Clarita County.

In the first quarter of next year, the chain is planning on opening a three-story unit with a roof deck in Oceanside, Calif.

Finney’s prides itself on its craft, from-scratch ingredients — and low prices.

Entrées run from $10 to $14, while the checks average $26. Finney’s only raised menu prices 3% last year due to inflation, and 5% over the past two years.

“We really want to double down on the value that our guests experience,” Finefrock said.

The brand uses a mix of chuck, brisket, and hanger steak in its burgers to make a high-quality patty. “The thing that everybody raves about is our craveable food,” he said.

That includes 18 appetizers, seven salads, seven pizzas, tacos, eight kinds of hot wings, and 16 burgers and sandwiches.

“It's quite a wide variety, but it's all high-end food,” Finefrock said. “We really take our time making it every morning from scratch.”

Everything is fresh, from the pizza dough to the bread to the sauces. That fact paired with low prices, Finefrock said, leads guests to understand the value that Finney’s provides.

“When they get the check at the end of the meal,” he said, “they say, ‘Wow, that's pretty good deal.’”

Contact Holly Petre at [email protected]

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