By Paula Roy –
The Barley Mow just might be taking over the world, very slowly, one neighbourhood at a time. With the opening earlier this month of their eighth location on Richmond Road near Roosevelt, this little gastropub empire now stretches from Orleans to Almonte to Brockville, with five points in between.
Barley Mow president Jason Curry says that Westboro has long been on his radar; in fact, it took him 15 years to find the spot they’re in and he jumped at the chance when it became available.
“I used to own clubs on Elgin Street and I much prefer the kind of neighbourhood-based venues we have with the Barley Mow,” says Curry. “People can walk down and have a meal or a couple of drinks, and on the weekends we offer great live entertainment.”
The Barley Mow holds its food up as a solid differentiator in the increasingly crowded Westboro pub landscape.
“Our corporate chef is committed to creating menus that emphasize fresh, flavourful food that is a cut above most pub grub,” says Curry. “Everything is made in house and we update our offerings twice a year, to provide lighter fare in the summer and heartier dishes in the winter.”
Some of the Barley Mow’s most popular dishes include the Pub Curry, the ‘Muffin Top’ Ale Pie and Gnocchi Bourguignon, in addition to the daily food and drink specials. In Westboro, the kids’ menu is also garnering rave revues, as are the other touches the Barley Mow offers to make itself family friendly.
Kelsey Crispin, operations manager for the chain, admits that it is getting harder to park in Westboro, but she feels that most of their patrons and staff will be arriving on foot or by bus so she doesn’t anticipate it being a huge problem.
“When we were hiring, we were amazed how many applications we got from people who live in the area, including lots of professional servers. We have a very talented and experienced group here in Westboro, which is great as offering excellent service is a big part of the Barley Mow experience.”
Barnboard walls and hand-forged furniture give the Barley Mow a nice organic vibe, making the space pleasant and welcoming. Also on offer is something that can be hard to find in Kitchissippi: a private meeting or event room that seats 40.
While the initial response has been positive, Jason and his team are surely eager for warmer weather to arrive so they can open the 60-seat rooftop patio, where cozy seating, fire pits and windbreak walls will create an urban oasis unlike any other in Westboro.