The Cellar, on Franklin Ave in the old Surly Bob’s location, has only been open for two days. This is my review, or rather profile, of this new pub in town as a lunch spot. Let me set the stage first though. In this review I try to be as honest as possible, but I always will give the place the benefit of the doubt. There were no major issues with this place, but at the end of the day I want to see them succeed no matter what.
Down the stairs into the basement pub I headed for lunch on only its second day open. Friends and myself went just shortly before noon, this is something I do wherever I go to always secure a seat. This wasn’t a problem at The Cellar, there was plenty of seating. Local musician, now acting bartender, Jim Taylor, greeted us and took our drink order. Shortly after the owner of the new pub, Dale, appeared from the back and the two worked the front of the house.
The space has been renovated and offers a slightly nicer appeal than Surly Bob’s did. It is no longer a sports bar, but gives the vide of an underground (see what I did there) classy joint, where good food and wine would be served. The cream coloured walls with black accents give a warm feeling. I can only imagine during the long cold winters, this place will feel cozy, packed with thirsty patrons sharing conversation.
At the current moment, only opening this week, the lunch menu – which I think is also the evening menu – is fairly generic pub menu with a few interest points. While I did have the Bison Burger, I failed to notice the Melts, that actually sound amazing. And while the main are the general: steak, fish, ribs, pasta, they still sounds like good pub grub – mmmm now I want ribs. Needless to say, next time I need to read the full menu. Oh and there is stuff on the other side.
Back to the Bison Burger for a second though, my lunch time meal. Our orders were taken quite quickly and only after a 15 minute wait we had our meals in front of us. To be frank, it was good, but generic. Thick patty on a good bun but no special sauce or flavours that would make it memorable for me. My cohorts had the chicken burger and the club house, and also noted the same, generic, but decent.
Nearing the end of the meal Dale was making the rounds checking on everyone, I asked him what his plans were once the pub is settled. He told me he has plans to expand the menu and offer special nights but he needed time to get the process down as well as update the kitchen equipment, which has some limitations.
Overall my experience was good at The Cellar and I’ll definitely go back. However I’m not convinced yet – and there is still time – that it is different from other downtown options. However it is an option nonetheless.
To wrap this all up for you in a doggy bag here is the meat of this write up: Get lunch between $8- $20 (with non-alcoholic drink), get it in about 15-20 mins from ordering, get service that is personable and striving to please and enjoy it in a cool atmosphere right off main street.
I look forward to putting this place on my regular circuit this fall.
What did I miss, add it into the comments below.