Just over 20 years ago, Inez Ribustello purchased On the Square in Tarboro with the help and encouragement of her father. Prior to that, she worked as the Beverage Director for Windows on the World in the World Trade Center until 9/11 changed everything.
After taking over the restaurant, she and her husband Stephen updated the menu, added tapas, and built a section for wine. They applied their experience as sommeliers to curate a section for quality wines that are under $10 to show that quality wine could also be affordable.
They were among the first businesses in North Carolina to take advantage of on premise and off premise wine selling, meaning they could sell wine to be consumed on site and bottles of wine to consume off the premises.
In 2008 they began looking for a bigger space and bought the building across from the Tarboro Post Office, but the economy collapsed shortly thereafter. Then, as a few years passed, they began to look into brewing beer with the help of a friend. With crowdsourced funding and various investors, they finally opened Tarboro Brewing Company in 2016.
They originally planned to have a wholesale model for their craft beer, but in the years it took to secure funding, the craft beer scene exploded in North Carolina. They needed to alter their plan, and, within a few months, they opened their taproom. Over time they were able to connect with distributors to get into Food Lion stores, as well as other cities in North and South Carolina.
A year later, they opened TBC West: Taproom and Tacos at the Rocky Mount Mills. Today, Inez spends a lot of her time focusing on distribution, but she enjoys doing a variety of tasks required as a small business owner.
For those looking to check out TBC for the first time, their top three beers are the Sexy Canoe, the Seed Spitter, and the Bobby Boucher.
Ribustello continues to find ways to invest in the community, and she invites people living here to invest however they can. She recognizes that everybody has ways they can contribute, whether it is through starting a business or investing to help others.
For more information about On the Square and TBC, check out our TC Spotlight podcast featuring Inez Ribustello. Learn more about On the Square at their website or Instagram. TBC recently launched a new website showing their upcoming events, what’s on tap, and more. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.