My latest restaurant journey led me just west of the Ambassador Bridge, in the town of Olde Sandwich. I had been hearing buzz about this little place near the University called the Barrel House Draught Co. & Grill that opened this August, rumoured to offer craft beers and good food, which are two things I’m all over. Since a recent trip to southern California, which happened to be during Beer Week, I’ve become a huge fan of small-batch beers with fresh flavours that are made with love.
Upon entering the Barrel House, co-owned by Mark Boulay and Aaron Godfrey, I immediately felt at home. I was welcomed by a pub style layout, Sublime playing over the speakers, and a beautiful exposed brick interior that made my insides warm. Beer paraphernalia, a dart board, and four flat-screen televisions adorn the walls of the pub.
The bar boasts 16 taps behind the wood, 12 of which are Ontario craft brews. Boulay says he would love to add more beers to the list, but won’t until they get more demand, as their current rate of turnover couldn’t be more perfect. The bar holds a capacity of 132 patrons inside, and can accommodate 86 on the patio which is well equipped with a tiki bar.
The kitchen is located in plain view, at the far end of the bar. Just above the grill is a wonderful chalk rendition of Albert Einstein exclaiming, “GOOD FOOD.” The menu arrived on a clipboard, listing appetizers and speciality sandwiches that pair pleasantly with your brew of choice.
My endeavour landed me the quad of sliders (I recommend trying one of each), the mozzarella stuffed ravioli, the mushroom medley sandwich, and the Barrel House Burger with a poutine. It was a feast for two that certainly knocked away any lingering hangover that I had from the previous day. The food was super fresh, damn delicious, and really reasonably priced. Their (secret) is fresh meat supplied by Bailey’s Meat Market, and Barron Poultry. Boulay informed me that they pride themselves on stocking local and fresh ingredients. Even fresh baked buns are delivered multiple times per week.
In the near future, the Barrel House plans on adding a beer sampling platter, to go along with the new trend of cask parties (“Cask beer” is the freshest beer you can get – unfiltered, unpasteurized and full of unparalleled flavour).
I can’t give enough accolades to the Barrel House. Maybe I’m a little biased due to the beer selection, but I’m telling you, my fellow foodies, Einstein was right! The food is fantastic, the beer goes without saying, and the environment is very comfortable and welcoming.
It’s also refreshing to see the owners fighting in the trenches, as Godfrey was the mastermind behind the grill during my visit. Check out the Barrel House Draught Co. & Grill for their daily lunch features for under $10 and beer specials that run Tuesday through Friday. Oh and after the “cr’after work party on Fridays from 5-7pm, you can check out (almost) everyone’s favourite pastime … Karaoke!
By: Nikki Antic
The Barrel House
Draught Co. & Grill
3199 Sandwich Street
Monday to Sunday 11am -2am