Farm-to-Table Restaurant Opening in Millbrook

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Photo Karen Graham
Business partners Peter Vance and Sarah Cooling look forward to the launch of their new business later this month.

The transformation of the former garage is almost complete.  After months of renovations, Moody’s Bar and Grill will open its doors in a stylish venue mid-September, if all goes according to plan.  The current hold up is connecting the gas supply to the restaurant equipment, as the final health inspection requires a demonstration of their cooking equipment.  Once this hurdle has been breached, owners expect the remaining items including their liquor license to swiftly follow.

The extended renovation period has allowed General Manager Peter Vance the opportunity to spend time in the village and confer with other local businesses.  He expects that having another restaurant option in town will complement rather than compete with existing businesses.  While he is new to Millbrook, Vance grew up in small town Ontario and understands the culture of building community in small towns.

Moody’s menu will feature seasonal local items, including vegetables sourced from local Community Agricultural Shares, meat from local vendors and chocolate treats from Millbrook Valley Chocolate.  While it will be a licensed facility, the focus will be on food rather than liquor.  The beverage selection will be designed to pair well with the menu, and will include craft beer, wine and select alcohol offerings.

Chef Lee Black formerly of Brio Gusto in Peterborough, is crafting the menu, and Jamie ___ has been hired to run the front of house after making an impression on customers and staff in a small restaurant in Port Hope.

The décor includes custom tables produced by Mennonite furniture builders from Craftworks in Peterborough, leather seating at tables and at the bar, and fixtures paying homage to agriculture.  An outdoor patio with decorative fencing extends the restaurant’s capacity by 20, bringing the total to more than 60.  There are plans to host live music featuring local singer-songwriters on occasion.  There are also large television screens above the bar to entertain lone diners coming in to relax and enjoy a meal.

The venture is an entirely new direction for owners Sarah Cooling and Peter Vance who practise law by day.  The two met in Cobourg where they work at the Legal Centre of Northumberland (THLCN), a United Way agency offering legal advice and representation to disadvantaged residents of Northumberland County.   While the work is steady, Vance explains that it can be challenging as they are rarely able to find a permanent resolution for their clients’ situation.

Vance assumes the role of General Manager and will be at the restaurant full time but will keep his hand in the law clinic in Cobourg a few hours a week.  Cooling will be behind the scenes in Millbrook and continue her law practise full time.   A long-time resident of Cavan, Cooling sees the restaurant as a creative outlet to enjoy after work and hopefully an investment in a growing community.

They are eager to become established as a neighbourhood haunt before the onslaught of new residents in the growing community. Whether customers drop in for a drink after work, to hear a local musician or for a well-deserved date night, they will be well received in this new restaurant.

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