The Best Kind of Local at Captain Lawrence Barrel House Mount Kisco

Captain Lawrence Barrel House and its Pandemic Evolution Story

By Kelly Fitzpatrick September 14, 2022

It's a sunny end of summer Sunday and we're looking for lunch after hitting up the Mount Kisco Farmer's Market.  It's the right temperature and now the right time of day for there to be hopes of a brewery lunch.  And we don't want to drive to Peekskill at the moment.  Could do Elmsford.  But Google tells us - a Captain Lawrence is closer than we think.  The Mount Kisco location is only a few minutes away - it's got food, outdoor seating, live music.  And off we go with our double stroller.  

From the street, we're thinking it's the factory.  We're skeptical of Google, arrogant.  We knew this was too good to be true. But then, the parking lot gives way to barrels of flowers, people at picnic tables, a seriously stroller friendly ramp into an industrial space that continues to wind around.  A guitarist sings out into the beer garden where a mixture of groups are enjoying the atmosphere.  There's a food counter at one end of the largest room, and the bar is down another happily accessible ramp.  We sit up top, are greeted by someone friendly and bearded, ordering is explained - food at the counter, drinks at the bar, feel free to run the same tab.  


We make eye contact with the others in there, also with small children in the area we are in.  It's too good to be true.  There's coloring, foozeball, that game with the sand and the pucks.  The space is open, in so many ways.  It's all the casual, cool brewery vibes.  It's just happy.  It's such a Sunday.  

In the bar area, some singles, some couples are watching a game.  There may not be kids there, but you also get the feeling the music wouldn't stop if they entered.  There's an alcove with a shop set up - the Captain Lawrence Brew Shop with the distillery becomes my husband's happy find.  We split the CLBC Burger and wings - from tossed, dusted, or glazed options we choose Nashville Hot and Carolina Gold BBQ.  There were no regrets.

I'll shorten my long story here - we were happy campers.  And I was in this new position to work with local businesses.  I spoke with Jeff Skiba, manager of all things, and MacKID and Captain Lawrence were just the right match.  

Jeff was eager to tell the story of Barrel House. "It's not like other places, it's not what you think to expect," he started. 

Barrel House was an optimistic venture during a pessimistic time.  It was the newest endeavor by Captain Lawrence Founder, Scott Vaccaro, with construction beginning during the height of the pandemic in 2020.  Jeff and Scott know the area well, Jeff being from Kisco himself, and both continuing to live not far from their locations.  


In October of '20, dine in business had begun and a buzz was brewing.  November moved Barrel House into takeout possibilities with the beer garden meeting the food truck.  All of this almost in spite of the many Covid restrictions that were hurting restaurants around the country - social distancing amongst the tables, plexiglass dividers, masks mandated in some areas, but not others.  Important for safety, certainly, but still a challenge for a new restaurant finding its footing.

Jeff says the arc of Barrel House's story was kind of confusing at that point - the excitement over getting up and running, but the inconsistency of the regulations and their inability to truly actualize their vision for the space and the service. 

The Elmsford spot had long since established its own vibe, and other area restaurants were also well-defined.  What was Barrel House going to be?  It took a few lessons learned to figure it out, given the time in which they opened, but each leg of the journey only improved the experience it is now.

As restrictions eased and the team continued to tweak the overall experience, Barrel House's identity started to fall into place.  The team has ironed out a menu that's just right as a complement to what's on tap.  Gone is the food truck and in its place a brand new kitchen where you can peek in to see the chefs at work when you pick up your meal.  Truffle oil and pecorino seasoned fries, bacon grilled cheese, two signature smash burgers - and even an Ahi Tuna salad for a lighter selection are some of the offerings you’ll find.  And the milk shakes.. Cookie monster, party cake, coffee, graham slam!  Each time I've been there, the food has been well prepared and well presented, deliciously crisp and filled with flavor.  It looks great next to that flight, but there's also a wide selection of beverage choices, hard seltzers, mixed drinks, and surprisingly good whiskey.

Good to Know:

Captain Lawrence Barrel House has two distinct spaces for private events, each comfortably holding upwards of 60 people, with a 40 person minimum for private events.  

  • The Beer Garden - picnic tables, flower barrels, and a wall of hops.  A tall privacy fence separates the space from the neighbors.
  • The Main Dining Area - bar games, plenty of seating, again open, happily casual.
  • In addition, it’s possible to add on the bar room for 80 - 100 person events.  The bar includes bar seating and high top tables.  It's an open feel, but cozy too.

Specials and Entertainment:

  • Wednesdays: Happy Hour 4 p.m. - Close
  • Thursdays: Trivia Night
  • Sundays: Kids Eat Free and Buy One Get One Beers at the bar
  • Live music

Barrel House also continues the Captain Lawrence tradition of community support.  The support has shown up in Pride cocktails, teacher appreciation specials, sustainable harvesting practices, organized staff volunteer opportunities, charitable donations and fundraising events.  Its neighborhood roots run deep to create a network of support - by recycling spent grain to feed animals at Hemlock Hill Farms and using sustainable agricultural practices, for example.

From the menu, to the clientele, to the weekly specials, you'll see that now Barrel House is what it was designed to be - open to ideas, open to improvement, open to the community, open to all.  They’ve been through a lot in the past few years, and people understand that.  It’s the same truth we’ve all lived!  So kudos to them for seeing the vision and staying the course.  Come see for yourself when you stop by for a meal or book your next event!  

I’ll be happy to see you there too on Sunday’s once a month this fall for Kids Craft days!