Photography by Kathy Tran
After a federal government shutdown halted Craig and Veronica Bradley’s dream restaurant, they were devastated. Their hard labor and sacrifices for Vector Brewing felt like a loss they wouldn’t come back from.
The neighborhood rallied for the family, raising more than $12,000 so the brewpub could open after they lost access to their small business loan.
When the duo was finally ready to open the restaurant, a pandemic hit, and all restaurants were take-out only. Despite COVID-19, they opened the restaurant and received 113 orders in the first three minutes.
Their kids quickly became employees as 50 cars lined up in the parking lot. By the second night, the Bradleys created a system. One person asked cars for an order number and put a post-it note on the window. They returned to the restaurant and updated a map.
“That’s how we operated for two months,” Veronica says. “Every day, at Friday around 3:45, we all would stand together like, ‘Okay guys, ready?’ It felt like we’re going to war.”
The opening months were a combination of stress and exhilaration as the Bradleys finally opened the brewpub they waited so long for.
The couple met at advertising agency DDB Dallas. Craig was in design and art direction and Veronica in copywriting.
“When you watch an ad, or hear an ad, you go, ‘Man, who thought of that?’ Someone like us,” Veronica says. “We came up with the ideas, and then we made them real.”
They left the advertising industry to pursue home brewing.
“We wanted to bring something that was a little more intimate and community-driven,” Craig says. “Where people could come, hang out, have beer and food.”
While most breweries are a warehouse with a food truck, the Bradleys wanted a neighborhood spot where families were welcome. Until 8 p.m., of course, when children are sent home, the lights dim and the place becomes an adult hangout.
They created every concept from their logos on glassware to the mural on the patio. A friend designed the mural, and Craig sketched and painted it.
Everything at Vector is made in-house, including the sourdough crust.
“We are trying to source local,” Craig says. “We work with a lot of local farmers, micro farms or the Chubby Dog Farm for all the pork sausages.”
The restaurant focuses on sustainable options, composting trash and baking dog treats from leftover brewery grain. They have a seven-barrel brew house system, wines and ciders.
“We wanted something that was in the neighborhood that people would be proud of,” Craig says.