BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF –
When it was announced in December that Barrhead Pub & Grill would reopen in the new year, Facebook lit up with comments and well wishes for owners Jane Field and Craig Matta who shut the restaurant down in 2016 due to family commitments which included the death of Jane’s mother and the failing health of her father.
Owner Jane Field sits in front of a cozy fire in Barrhead Pub & Grill's dining room.
"We were shocked by the outpouring of sadness when we closed and the excitement when we reopened,” said Field who was buoyed by the level of support expressed for their local business, unaware of the impact they had on their customers.
Upon hearing the announcement, many people reminisced about their happy experiences at Barrhead. Although Field and Matta have owned the business since 1998, some stories dated back as far as the 1960s, demonstrating that the restaurant and pub has been an important fixture in Markdale for a very long time.
A pool table awaits its next group of players inside the main dining area.
“Craig and I have worked so hard for the last 20 years and put everything into the business, so it was very emotional for us to have to close,” said Field, who added, "It was practicality that made us want to reopen.” The practicality she referred to included the need to avoid problems that can arise from leaving an aging building empty or unused for a long period of time; couple that with their sheer love of the business, and the rest was elementary.
A popular stop for snowmobilers, Barrhead Pub & Grill is situated on West Back Line.
Barrhead reopened its doors on January 18 after renovations to the washrooms and repairs to the refrigeration system. “We went from four small bathrooms to two large ones making them both wheelchair friendly and also installed a baby change table,” said Field. Apart from that, the place looks almost exactly the same as it did. Customers can anticipate the same great food and casual atmosphere they’ve previously come to expect from the establishment too.
“However, some customers may be sad to hear that the cats are gone. Ziggy and Joey are staying at home now,” said Field with a smile. Seriously though, there are some other changes to the operation. Almost all of the staff is new to the business including a kitchen manager and front manager, positions formerly held by Jane and Craig. This will allow them to continue to care for Jane’s father who has somewhat recovered but still requires regular attention.
Some of the many beers on tap at Barrhead Pub & Grill.
Field has maintained control over the menu which has been simplified but still contains many favourites including Nova Scotian haddock and chips, local beef burgers, homemade soups and desserts, salads and sandwiches. “Once the new staff gets comfortable with the current menu, we’ll be adding seasonal specials,” said Field as she mentioned their famous summer spinach/strawberry salad as just one example. Of course, when weather permits, the patio will be open again too.
The bar features 12 drafts with several local brands such as three MacLean’s ales and a very popular house draft, Barrhead Blond. Seven VQA wines are also available.
Barrhead Pub & Grill is located at 735198 West Back Line on the west side of Markdale. They are open from 11 to 9 Thursday to Saturday and 11 to 8 on Sundays.
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