What’s new on Newport?

By on January 28, 2015

Ziegler Barn, to be known as Brick Gables, should be done by March

LR20150129_CBrickGables3The historic 19th century barn on East Newport Road has been undergoing quite a transformation over the past few months. With its intricate brick-patterned wall and old-fashioned silo, the once-faded agricultural landmark will soon be reborn as a bakery, deli, cafe, caterer and special events venue.

The barn, known in Warwick Township as the Ziegler Barn, was approved for a “letter of credit” during the Jan. 21 township supervisors meeting. That formality means the revitalized building should be completed by the end of March and open to the public in early April.

“It’s not really the Ziegler Barn, at least not historically,” says Brandon Ziegler, adding that the barn was never in the Ziegler family for generations, as some people assume. The original Ziegler family barn is actually located at 87 Green Acre Road in Lititz, where the family operates its deli and bakery.

LR20150129_CBrickGables4The barn that the Zieglers are restoring at 800 E. Newport Road will be known as Brick Gables, and it’s a dream-come-true for the whole family.

As Warwick Township manager Dan Zimmerman pointed out, the barn has long been a subject of speculation. The township always hoped it would be given a second chance. At one time there were discussions about a possible restaurant or steak house, but those ideas never materialized.

“It is a unique structure,” noted Zimmerman.

That uniqueness comes from the intricate brickwork, classifying it as a “brick-end” barn. Such barns feature designs that create gaps and patterns in the walls. Not only are the designs strikingly beautiful, but they were practical too. The openings allowed light and ventilation for the barn.

Brandon Ziegler (pictured at the construction site) and his family are sparing no expense in making Brick Gables the premier special events facility. The first wedding is slated for early April. (photos by Laura Knowles)

Brandon Ziegler (pictured at the construction site) and his family are sparing no expense in making Brick Gables the premier special events facility. The first wedding is slated for early April. (photos by Laura Knowles)

Although Ziegler isn’t certain of when the barn was first built, most estimates range from the late 1800s to around 1900. These barns are found almost exclusively in southeastern and central Pennsylvania, and feature quilt-like patterns such as a sheaf of wheat, triangles or diamonds.

The wall on the east side of Brick Gables has a small triangle at the top, with two sheaves of wheat in the next row, four more sheaves of wheat in the next row, and five sheaves in the fourth row. In the last and fifth row, there are five diamonds.

The brick wall on the west side is virtually a mirror image, with the same triangle, sheaves and diamonds pattern.

“If there was one thing we knew for sure, it was that we wanted to save the brick walls,” said Ziegler. “They are so unusual, and everyone comments on how beautiful they are.”

They also wanted to save the stonework, which provides an accent to the deep red color of the brick and the barn siding. The gray stone is being repointed, both inside and out.

The rest of the barn was deemed unsafe after many years of sitting unused and unmaintained. To create the new Brick Gables, the brick walls and stonework form a foundation for the space.

Brick Gables will then be the new home of Zig’s Bakery & Café, Country Home Catering, and the new wedding and special events venue. Zig’s will be on the ground level, with indoor and outdoor seating for 60, and a menu featuring breakfast, lunch and light dinner fare. Upstairs will be the wedding hall, with room for up to 300, plus restrooms and a kitchen for the catering business.

“We’re very excited about this project. It’s really coming along,” says Ziegler, adding that “we” includes his parents Dean and Carole Ziegler, and his sister Heather Ziegler.

Ziegler noted that his parents have been operating Country Home Catering from their Fairland Road home for nearly 25 years. The family bakery and deli on Green Acre Road has been popular for its light and fluffy rolls, pies and cakes, deli salads, whoopie pies and other home-cooked goodies.

The catering and bakery will be moving all operations to the Brick Gables location, providing far more space, more parking and new dining options.

So how did the previously unnamed barn become known as the Ziegler Barn? It all began with a search for a new location. Ziegler credits his uncle Gary Myers for finding the barn and suggesting it as a possible location for the family business.

Myers is president of Speedwell Construction, and he always noticed the barn during his travels along East Newport Road. He and his team of experts examined the building and determined that the brick and stone were in good condition. The timber frame was not. It had to to torn down and replaced. Riehl’s Construction of Leola stepped in to rebuild the wooden framed structure and make the overall facility much larger.

The $3.2 million project will more than double the size of the barn from 7,000 square feet to 14,300 square feet on two floors. It sits on a 1.05-acre plot of land next to Newport Commons.

The property will have 80 parking spaces, along with another 56 spaces that will be shared with Newport Commons residents. The parking will only be filled on days when special events are held, mainly Fridays and Saturdays.

“One of the things we had noticed was a need for a wedding and special events venue,” says Ziegler, reiterating that Brick Gables will have indoor seating for 300 and outdoor seating for 200. “There just aren’t that many places available for a barn-style wedding.”

Brick Gables is expected to help fill that need, offering a wide-open space with towering wood framing above the wooden floor. It’s got a bright airy feel, thanks in part to the open brickwork and skylights set into the framing.

“We already have our first wedding booked for April 4,” says Heather Ziegler, adding that events will be catered by Country Home Catering with an extensive menu of homestyle dishes, sides and desserts. “I think a lot of people are excited about this. We certainly are.”

The first non-wedding public event will be Friday and Saturday, April 10 and 11, when Brick Gables will be hosting a benefit dinner for YWAM Jamaica. For more details, check out brickgables.com and their Facebook page.

“We are planning to relocate to our new location Thursday, April 9. Our last day at our current shop on Green Acre Road will be Saturday, April 4,” says Ziegler.

Hours at the new Zig’s Bakery & Cafe will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu will include sandwiches, soups, salads, coffee, espresso, and fountain drinks. The bakery and deli features potato dinner rolls, scones, pies, chicken salad, homemade soups, and Moravian sugar cake.

Laura Knowles is a local freelance reporter, covering the Warwick Township municipal beat for the Record Express. She welcomes reader feedback at lknowles21@gmail.com.   

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