Nathan Colquhoun and his fellow investors behind Sarnia’s successful Refined Fool microbrewery believe if you want to succeed downtown you need to start small and grow with demand.
Which is why they’re entering the restaurant business this month with a burger truck on a strip of land they purchased on Davis Street, overlooking the river.
Burger Rebellion will specialize in freshly ground beef burgers, “rebel” spiral fries and ice cream floats.
The menu will concentrate on a few high-end items “with various clever, creative options”, says Colquhoun. A patio and tables will surround the truck.
“Burger Rebellion is going to have a really cool summer feel and music to draw more people to that end of the downtown,” he said.
The plan is to add trucks specializing in different foods as time goes on.
The food at Burger Rebellion will also be available to patrons at the Refined Fool, the pub attached to the microbrewery a block away at 137 Davis St. The Refined Fool has never had a kitchen but allows customers to order and bring in food from other restaurants.
“We were going to do the burger truck regardless of the brewery but it’s logical to offer food service from the truck to the pub,” said Colquhoun. “There’s so much potential there.”
The brewery investors also operate a communication and design company called Storyboard Solutions, which recently moved to a new location at 159 Lochiel St.
The Refined Fool itself is preparing for change. Two years after producing its first craft beer it has secured a permanent listing on LCBO shelves for its “Pouch Envy” ale.
“We cannot make enough beer at our current location, although we brew every day,” said Colquhoun.
The solution is to continue the Davis Street taproom but brew at a larger location with a new system capable of producing 10 times the volume.
A lease has been signed for 11,000 square feet at 153 Christina St., conditional on city hall rezoning for light industrial use. The building was once a bowling alley and recently a newspaper office.
Colquhoun is optimistic of approval and hopes the expanded brewery can be in operation by 2017.
Meanwhile, the same group of entrepreneurs is hosting the fourth annual Beer Show at Bayside Centre this weekend. Twelve breweries a slate of live bands and entertainment are expected for what could be Sarnia’s largest Beer Show yet.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: The Beer Show
WHEN: Friday, May 6, 5 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.; and Saturday, May 7: 3 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Bayside Centre, in the former art gallery location.
TICKETS: $10, or $25 for the weekend and cask party. Visit www.beershow.ca.