It only takes a second to realize that the new store, which is moving into the 5,000-square-foot space that formerly housed Outfitters Steaks and Seafood in Locust, will be a one-of-a-kind place, as a giant spray-painted image of a malevolent Viking with a battle-axe greets visitors at the side of the building at 805 W. Main St.
People shouldn’t be hinted at – although hopefully they will be hungry and thirsty. Because the company, Buzzed Viking Brewing Company, will offer food with a variety of beers and mead, an ancient alcoholic beverage made from fermenting honey mixed with water.
Buzzed Viking opened its first location in Concord in summer 2020 and plans to open the Locust location in late September or early October. This will be the city’s second brewery, following The Brew Room, which opened in May.
After scouring various communities, including Mooresville and Monroe, to set up a second location, owners Jon Pokorny and Mike Moroe chose Locust.
“We wanted something more local in a small town that was still developing,” Pokorny said, adding when he and Moroe came to Locust and spoke to residents, “we knew, you know what, this.” will be a great place.”
Buzzed Viking was the first combination brewery and brewery ever established in Cabarrus County, and one of the few in the country, according to its website.
While the name is interesting, it has nothing to do with indulgence, Pokorny said.
“I want people to bring their kids and their families,” Pokorny said of the environment he hopes to nurture.
Part of the name comes from the fact that Vikings drank mead as the oldest form of alcohol on the planet. And mead is made from honey made by buzzing bees. An alternative explanation for the name, Pokorny said, focuses on Moroe’s wife, Sheri, who comes from a Norwegian family that traces her ancestry back to the Vikings. Her grandfather was a beekeeper and every time he was stung he said the bees “buzzed” him.
Compared to the Concord location, which offers basic bar food, Locust will offer an extensive, colorful menu, about 90 percent of which is ready. Some of the offerings guests can expect include honey chicken and waffles, a wagyu, elk and wild boar burger served with chili pepper and bacon jam, a sandwich called The Lonnie Little (Pokorny didn’t give any further details ), giant turkey drumsticks and a honey coated pork schnitzel with sweet potato gnocchi. More traditional bar dishes include pretzels, honey battered chicken skins and Locust fries.
“Basically, we saw that you have Tailgators Sports Grill and Fast Food and Local Room, so we land right in the middle,” Pokorny said, noting that the dishes wouldn’t cost more than about $15.
About 20 locally brewed beers are offered at the Locust location, along with about four to six mead wines, which are very different from traditional wine and tend to be higher in alcohol. Buzzed Vikings Mets have an alcohol content of 12 percent.
Buzzed Viking in Concord rotates through about 70 flavors of mead including blackberry, blueberry, apple, piña colada, mango and cheesecake. Pokorny said customers can expect a similar variety of offerings in Locust.
Food and drink aside, Buzzed Viking will be an entertainment venue in Locust. It offers activities like music bingo, face painting, a game called Brew Bag (a combination of corn hole and beer pong), live music, comedy shows, and more.
“We’re going to test a lot of things and see what our customers like,” he said.
The company aims to satisfy customers in four ways: “We want to provide you with a good product, we want to provide you with a fun place, we want to provide you with good service, and we just want to give you fun.” ‘ said Pokorny.