A unique craft brewery with a mission to train and employ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) will soon expand into the pizza business. Tiffany Fixter, founder of Brewability Lab, has taken over the garden-level space formerly occupied by Extreme Pizza at 250 Steele Street in Cherry Creek, and hopes to open Pizzability there in mid-June.
Pizzability will follow the Brewability Lab's mission of creating jobs for those with IDD; Fixter also plans to make the place far more accessible than other restaurants in order to serve a broader customer base. Fixter says she applied for and received special mill-levy funds for people with IDD through Rocky Mountain Human Services to help cover the opening of the restaurant. The funding will allow her to employ thirty more people with IDD and will also help pay for visual menus (for those unable to read), a Braille wall, special-needs silverware to assist both customers and employees, and bathrooms with added sanitary options. "We want to go above and beyond and provide what families really need," Fixter explains.
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"We also really want to have purposeful pizza," she adds. She's already working with a Colorado farm that employs people with IDD to provide produce for toppings, and she's researching wineries, cheese makers and even a toilet-paper manufacturer with similar goals. At the start, Pizzability will have four Brewability Lab beers on tap.
While the concept and location for the pizzeria came together very quickly, Fixter has known for some time that she would need to expand Brewability Lab's business in order to stay afloat, since the current brewery at 12445 East 39th Avenue, in an industrial area of northeast Denver, doesn't see much walk-in traffic at its taproom.
Opening in June is dependent on getting city permits to add a roll-up garage window that was donated to the restaurant. Fixter has also applied to Gordon Ramsay's restaurant fix-up show, 24 Hours to Hell & Back, in hopes of landing additional assistance with needed renovations on the space. The Global Down Syndrome Foundation just moved into a new building two blocks from her pizzeria, Fixter notes; that will be an additional resource for both employees and customers.
Fixter was a special-needs teacher and adult daycare provider for ten years before she decided to open Brewability Lab, in part because she was told that she wasn't creative enough with her students. Now she's creating jobs for people who are often overlooked in the labor force — and creating beer and pizza for Denver to enjoy.