Owensboro brothers to open Kentucky-focused restaurant

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Something new is coming to Owensboro.

Two brothers who grew up in Owensboro, and now own and operate separate restaurants, are coming together to start a restaurant that showcases Kentucky.

Matt and Dennis Weafer have both worked in restaurants since they were teenagers. Several may have heard the old saying that people shouldn’t mix business with family, but those two are casting that aside to create something unique together.

The Weafer brothers have both been in the restaurant business a long time, and bring a lot of experience with them.

When a historic building became available, they didn’t hesitate and decided to go into business together.

“This isn’t anything that we really planned,” Dennis Weafer, owner of Fetta Specialty Pizza & Spirits said. “The opportunity just kind of popped up, the building opened up and it’s something we’ve always wanted to do so we jumped on it.”

Matt owns a cafe, and Dennis owns a pizza place, but this will be something different. They plan to call it “Sassafras,” and they want it to showcase the culture and history of Kentucky.

The brothers say they want to have a smoker, as well as space to cure meats on site, as well as pair it all with veggies they will can or ferment themselves. They acknowledge Kentucky food may not conjure a clear image to those who think about it.

“Kentucky food is not as obvious, you go to New Orleans or somewhere like that and everyone knows distinct dishes,” Matt Weafer, owner of Niko’s Bakery & Cafe said. “You say Kentucky food, you think hot brown, Benedictines and stuff like that, and that’s true. But a lot of it is what did they grow, what did they have on hand at the time.”

All their experience can even be a problem, since they both have so much they want to contribute.

“I think the difficult part is reigning that in,” Dennis said.

“What not to do, we have too many ideas and we’re like, ‘That’s a great idea,’ ‘Well, that’s a great idea.’ And it’s like, which great idea are we going with?” Matt said.

They do already have similar tastes to work with, as both independently decided to sell local art in their restaurants. They say they are slowly whittling down the size of their menu, and they don’t anticipate much family drama.

“And obviously, we don’t have a problem mixing business and family because we’re doing it,” Matt said.

The brothers say they are not sure exactly when the restaurant will open, but they are aiming for the early spring of 2022. When word got out what the brothers were planning, they say people already started coming up to them asking for reservations, but they are not quite to that stage yet.

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Robinson  Miles

Robinson Miles

Robinson is a reporter for 14 News and is excited to be in the Tri-State.