Marin Eats and Flo Bros. take over kitchen at Axemann Brewery

Jenna Mccaslin, Photographer

Marin Eats is the restaurant now located in the Axemann Brewery, located at 2042 Axemann Road in Bellefonte. It is run by owner Matt McKean, and one of their children, junior Bailey McKean works there as well.

Owner McKean, has an interesting story on how Marin Eats began and the history behind it starting from a food truck and blooming into a business. 

“The idea of Marin Eats came about during the Covid-19 pandemic in late 2020 when I realized that my job at Penn State was going to be drastically changing,” McKean said.

There were many reasons for starting Marin Eats, but his main reason started from a joke with some pals. 

“Some of us at work had been kind of joking around about quitting our jobs and starting a food truck. It wasn’t until I seriously started researching it and realized how affordable at the time it would be to actually do it,” McKean said.

The reason he chose Axemann Brewery where the Smokey Axe was before was because he was already familiar with the space and people, and wanted to be there more often to serve that community of people. 

“Over the last two years or so, I periodically had my truck booked at Axemann Brewery, so we already had a positive working relationship, and I was familiar with the business levels as well as the convenient location, it made for a great opportunity,” McKean said. 

He also explained how he is handling the food truck business while he is starting out in the brewery. 

“As of now the only food truck business I am doing are the events that I had booked prior to the conception of the restaurant. I plan on revisiting that toward the end of summer though, and if I’m comfortable with my staffing and the restaurant business levels, I may begin to increase food truck bookings,” McKean said. 

McKean’s favorite things about his business include “building something new” and “having a staff that really cares about the product we put out as much as I do.” 

Worker at Marin Eats, junior Bailey McKean, gives her opinion on how she enjoys working with her father. 

“I really enjoy working there. It’s been a great experience so far. All of the brewery staff are super nice and really good to work with, most of the customers are really nice and patient. The kitchen staff that we have in there all works really well together so the kitchen flows great,” Bailey said.

Bailey also enjoys working with fellow employees such as junior Daniel Grubb and the older staff as well. The business runs well as a little family in the kitchen. 

“The thing I would say I enjoy most is how not stressful it is. With the bigger space and staff, big meal rushes aren’t as big of a deal as they were in the food truck. The whole kitchen is really efficient and we can put out a lot more food quicker than before,” Bailey said.

Bailey’s coworker, Dan, enjoys the vibes he gets while working and is enjoying his time while greeting the customers with a smile. 

“It is a great environment and I enjoy the people I get to work with. It is a good job experience to have and an amazing way to earn money,” Dan said.

Dan enjoys “the experiene of interacting with new people and learning how to serve them.”

“This is my first job, and it makes it feel great to get into the workforce,” he said.

Owner McKean expresses what it is like to run a restaurant while simultaneously running his food truck at the same time. 

“I have run kitchens in other various settings as a kitchen manager, sous chef, and executive chef, but this is my first experience with owning one… I am also really enjoying the fact that Axemann Brewery asked us to partner with Flo Bros. pizza as well.  I feel that they are able to offer a great product that compliments everything we do,” McKean said.

Flo Bros. owner Matt Floravit, who shares their space with Marin Eats, shared his own background and connection to the brewery.

“Flo Bros. started in March of 2020 a few weeks after the Covid-19 shutdowns began.  I was, and still currently am, co-owner of Canyon Pizza in downtown State College. I was approached by the owners of Big Springs Spirits in Bellefonte and asked if I would be interested in setting up a tent and selling pizzas in front of their distillery,” Floravit said.

  The distillery was, at the time, the only place to purchase alcohol during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 “They created a sort of public square feeling,” he said.

Floravit had considered using the Canyon Pizza name, but instead decided to use a play on his last name, especially since he recruited his younger brother, Andy Floravit, to work with him. 

So Matt Floravit and his brother put their oven on a trailer and began to book events, weddings, and graduation parties, eventually leading to his space alongside Marin Eats.

“I started doing every Thursday at the University Winery in Boalsburg, and every Sunday at Axemann Brewery in Bellefonte,” he said. 

Floravit shares how the brewery is an upcoming place in Bellefonte. 

“Axemann Brewery is very rapidly becoming an important hub of the Bellefonte community, hosting lots of fundraisers for local organizations, and a great place to book a private party. It’s a great place to bring kids and grandparents, and the staff and management and brewers at the brewery are all amazingly supportive and cooperative. It really is the perfect fit, and I couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come from here,” Floravit said. 

Marin Eats and Flo Bros. are the places to visit when wanting to get a bite and have a meal that will fill you up.