If you wanted a burger with your beer at Ten Mile Brewing Company in Signal Hill, you’d have to hope the food truck outside that day would make you one.
Soon that will no longer be an issue because the three-year-old Ten Mile– located at 1136 E. Willow St.- will have its own full-service kitchen to complement its beer-tasting room.
After a two-month approval process, the Signal Hill City Council agreed on Dec. 8 to amend Ten Mile’s conditional-use permit, allowing it to serve its own food inside.
The council also agreed to change Signal Hill zoning laws so all alcohol makers with tasting rooms in the city can have a kitchen. Ten Mile is currently the only such business.
When it opened in 2017, Ten Mile’s permit allowed it to operate as a brewery with indoor and outdoor tasting rooms and a food truck to serve food in its parking lot, Community Development Director Colleen Doan said.
In 2019, the City expanded the brewery’s permit to allow longer hours, indoor live music and outdoor events in its 22-space parking lot.
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But when COVID-19 hit this past spring, the Los Angeles County Health Department closed breweries and bars without a kitchen and Ten Mile could only sell its beer to-go.
The department eased those restrictions briefly in October to allow onsite beverage consumption, only to shut it down again in November when countywide virus cases and deaths surged.
“With the continued uncertainty about Health Department regulations and rollbacks due to the rises in COVID-19 cases, […] the most certain business model for Ten Mile will be to install a full-service kitchen,” Doan said.
Owner Dan Sundstrom said Ten Mile needed to serve food to stay open when restrictions briefly eased, but if a scheduled food truck didn’t show up, the brewery had to close.
“We’ve had to depend on this food-truck model for the past three years,” Sundstrom said. “There’s a lot of unreliability. Many times, trucks break down or they just don’t show up and we’re just left hanging.”
The planned full-service kitchen will be built at the back of the brewery, replacing a storage area and office, which will be moved offsite. Ten Mile will not expand its floor space or parking lot.
The council conducted a public hearing before approving the amended permit but heard no objection. The City had already solicited approval from Ten Mile’s neighbors in its commercial-industrial zone, including a medical office and generator-rental company, as well as the location’s property owner.
Ten Mile still has to secure permits from the LA County Health Department before it can build the kitchen and start preparing and serving food.
In the meantime, Ten Mile delivers or customers can come to the brewery to select beer or order online at its website,TenMileBrewing.com, to pick up.
It serves its beer in three sizes– a standard 16-oz. can, 32-oz. aluminum “crowler” or 64-oz. glass “growler.”
“We really prefer the 32-oz. format because once you open the larger format, it immediately starts to deteriorate and it’s really good to consume it within the next 24 or 48 hours,” Sundstrom said, adding that a crowler will last for two weeks in the fridge.
Ten Mile also cans any of its beers in packs of four or six that can be mixed or matched. Its beers range from lagers to IPAs to stouts.
“If you guys want to buy Christmas gifts for someone who’s a beer lover, we have a full apparel line,” Sundstrom said. “We have glasses and mugs and hoodies and all kinds of logoed gear.”
Ten Mile will “keep it simple” with its food once its kitchen is up and running, Sundstrom said.
“Happy cooking,” Mayor Edward Wilson said after the council’s approval.