HOK #104: Meet Summer Baird

Photo courtesy of Summer Baird.

“I was born and grew up in Stratford, Ontario. I attended the Stratford Chef School and then moved to Vancouver Island where I worked as a chef. When I moved to Ottawa, I opened a casual fine dining restaurant with a business partner on Second Avenue in the Glebe called The Urban Pear.

When I left that business, I opened a home daycare so I could stay home with my infant daughter until she went to school. In order to save the capital required to open another foodie venture, I bought, renovated and sold houses. Eventually, I moved to Hintonburg and began looking for a space to open a new business. I really missed the social interaction I found in running a restaurant and noticed there were a lot of fine dining restaurants and taverns, but not many restaurants in between. I wanted to provide a place that people could come to a couple of times a week, without breaking the bank, for quality food made from scratch. So I found a space and opened The Hintonburg Public House in 2011. 

I came from a small town, and I love how Hintonburg feels the same way. I can get everything I need in the area, and yet it has elements of a big city close by. I lived in a few different areas of Ottawa when I was flipping houses and I found this area the friendliest. People are neighbourly and go out of their way to help others, which I appreciate and love about our community. 

During this time of social distancing, my partner is busy redoing the floors at the restaurant. He is an artist and is putting some hidden treasures into the renovations. I am also catching up on things that I never have time to do and will be taking some time to refine our menus. Not having time to dine out, and with the extra time, I am falling in love with cooking again. When we do reopen, I highly recommend our pan fried halloumi cheese, fresh arugula and baby tomato salad with a roasted red pepper puree. It’s my favourite item on our current menu.”

Collected by Ellen Bond

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