Six owners with strong ties to Mitton Village say their new bar is already contributing to the neighbourhood’s revival.
Maud’s Variety at 125 Mitton St. South opened June 12 and quickly became a popular weekend hangout for beer lovers, music fans and Sarnians excited to renew a social life.
“Wednesday and Thursdays are steady and we’re packed on the weekends,” says owner Josh Walters.
He and his business partners were “run off their feet” during the recent Mitton Village Block Party, and that felt good, he said.
“It’s the dream. Our weekends with live music have just been phenomenal.”
Walters and wife Michelle have lived the past five years in Mitton Village – the name given to the central Sarnia neighbourhood with an historically strong commercial core and adjacent to the Sarnia Farmers Market and former SCITS high school.
The area fell on hard times after losing many of its anchor stores but new investment is slowly turning things around.
The owners of Maud’s Variety met while working at a local craft brewery and liked the idea of owning their own bar featuring a wide variety of canned craft beer and an inviting menu of munchies.
When Captain John’s Fish & Chips closed at 125 Mitton the friends saw an opportunity to open in a neighbourhood they love.
The partners include Josh and Michelle Walters, Natasha Singh, Mike Kent, Cameron Starr and Tyler Rawcliffe.
Rawcliffe, 33, grew up on Mitton Street and said he believes it will thrive again as it did when he was a kid.
Maud’s Variety is staffed by the owners, and Rawcliffe’s 15 years of cooking experience is an asset in the kitchen.
The menu offers “fun, fresh, easy snacks” so that whoever is bartending can quickly serve the munchies too. Popular items include Triple Pickle Dip with potato chips ($9); Roasted Tomato Salsa with tortilla chips ($7); potato salad ($9); Poutine ($11) and soft pretzels ($7). Everything is made in-house.
As for the beer, that’s where the “variety” in Maud’s Variety comes in. Each week, 50 to 70 different kinds of Ontario craft beer arrive.
“We think we have the biggest variety of drinks, that you cannot find elsewhere in Sarnia,” said Walters. “We maximize our selection by having multi-cans rather than kegs.”
The beers are itemized under categories such as funky, sour, wheat, IPA, DIPA, pale ale, domestic, and crispy. Prices range from $5.50 to $14 per can, with most at $7 or $8.
So who is Maud? That’s a question asked by many, said Walters. Maud isn’t a real person. The name was chosen for its old-fashioned appeal, he said.
“An old-school name like Maud gives our place a personal feel. All the classic bars have personality.” And by choosing Maud’s Variety, the bar’s initials echo those of Mitton Village.
“We put a lot of work into the décor to give it a timeless, nostalgic vibe,” said Walters. “Maud just fits the bill.”
Maud’s Variety has patio seating for about 50 people. Seventy-five can sit inside, but COVID-19 has restricted indoor seating to 30 right now.
Check out the bar’s Facebook page or see the menu and hours of operation at www.mauds-variety.square.site/s/order. Takeout orders are welcome and beer is available to go as long as food is also purchased.
Got a great idea for a business feature? Send it to [email protected]