Restaurant owners finding success in Kingsville

Tate Harris
By Tate Harris December 5, 2017 14:25

Restaurant owners finding success in Kingsville

By: Tate Harris

The “Jack’s Burger” at Jack’s Gastropub in Kingsville, ONT. (Photo by Tate Harris)

Kingsville restaurant owners are using dining trends and the support of each other to find success in what is typically a tough industry.

The town, known for its wineries, has started to offer more dining options and alternative choices for drinks. Business owners say improving restaurant standards, adding two micro-breweries and more dining establishments have made Kingsville a premiere dining destination.

Trevor Loop, owner of Jack’s Gastropub, said he believes more restaurants opening in town will bring more people to the town.

“If you make Kingsville busier, everybody will prosper and I really do buy into that theory,” said Loop.

Restaurant owners in Kingsville say they understand that to remain competitive they have to keep up with current trends. Buying local is one of those growing trends in the restaurant industry.

Jack’s has been certified by Feast On Ontario, guaranteeing 25 per cent of their food and beverages are local. The restaurants in Kingsville have an advantage to buying local produce — 78 per cent of Ontario’s greenhouse produce comes from the Kingsville/Leamington area.

Craft beer also continues to be a growing trend in Canada. According to Beer Canada, the number of brewing facilities grew more than 20 per cent in 2016. Craft beer can be found in almost every restaurant in Kingsville.

“From a restaurant perspective, you have a lot of great products to pair with your menu now,” said Loop, on the benefit of using craft beers.

He is planning to open a three to four-barrel system tap room across the street from The Grove, which is currently the only micro-brewery in Kingsville. Tap rooms are typically a bar that serves alcohol without many food options. Warehouses on Park street in Kingsville are currently being renovated to house a large brewing company called Kingsville Brewing Co. The new brewery is said to be a 30-barrel system with 60 fermenters, which would be able to produce around 140 large kegs. That is almost 963 cases of beer. This would make Kingsville Brewing Co. the largest brewery in Essex County. They plan on having a small tap room, but will be focus on large production.

Kingsville mayor Nelson Santos said adding microbreweries to the winery landscape is good for the area. Santos realizes the benefit the restaurants and breweries have in the community.

“We are already very famous and popular for our wineries. The microbreweries are just another part of the food and taste destination part of the community, ” said Santos.”Basically complimenting each other. For us, it provides a diversity, certainly for our economy and an attraction to our downtown.”

The current town project is the revitalization of Park Street. In addition to the Kingsville Brewing Co. using previously vacant warehouses, the town is fixing the road, cleaning the beaches and building a new park with a splash pad and an event centre.

Patty Bosco, owner of Beach House Grill, saw the potential of Park Street when deciding to open her new restaurant. Bosco, who previously owned Route 42 in Windsor, was looking for a cottage in

Kingsville when she came across the building that now houses the restaurant. Bosco said she understood word travels fast in a small town, but was not ready for what was coming.

“We could see this being the new part of town, ” said Bosco. “We weren’t prepared for how busy we were. Sales-wise we were blown away with our numbers from the minute we opened.”

Since opening in Feb 2017, Beach House Grill has increased its number of employees to 33 people and offers a casual dining setting similar to Route 42.

Kingsville offers restaurant choices for all tastes. You can choose from sushi to Mediterranean on the same street. The diversity attracts customers from all over Windsor-Essex.

“Even people from Windsor come out here. They love it out here. It’s a small community with a lot of choices,” said Sherri Murray, after having dinner at O’Sarracino.

Mettawa’s Train Station, owned by Anthony Del Brocco, was recently named one of Canada’s top 100 Italian restaurants by Open Table. These kinds of accolades have made the industry very competitive but it has not stopped owners from assisting each other.

“We really get together, support each other, share our best practices,” said Heather Brown, who owns The Main Grill and Ale House with Tom Soutar. “Eat, Drink, Dine Kingsville is really a big part, I believe, of why the restaurants are doing so well in Kingsville.”

Eat, Drink, Dine Kingsville is a group of food, beverage and hospitality operators. These operators have a common goal of promoting Kingsville as a dining district to attract tourists and helping their community in the process. A fundraiser with Kingsville Public School using gift cards helped raise $7,300 for the school. The group plans on expanding the campaign to other local schools this year. Owners have stressed the importance of working with each other to find success.

“You’re not in competition, but you’re in cooperation with each other,” said Mike Harris, previous owner of The Bridge House.

Business owners do not expect the town to become over-saturated with restaurants anytime soon and will continue to help anyone looking to find success in their town. Kingsville has launched its second phase of the website mykingsville.ca to help tourist and locals stay updated with the town’s growth.

Tate Harris
By Tate Harris December 5, 2017 14:25
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