For those always looking for another brunch spot and Happy Hour venue, the good news is that the site of The (recently closed) Club has been re-leased and was opened in the heart of the first big storm of the season last month, as the Bernard Stanley GastroPub.
It is less than a block from Raymonds and, likewise, named after two grandfathers, “one really liked food and the other really liked to drink”, says grandson and chef-owner-operator Chris Herritt.
Herritt and the upbeat front of house and bar manager, Ashley Marston, both worked together at Nautical Nellies Pub on Water St., and found they had a similar vision for the perfect restaurant. Marston grew up watching “Cheers” and it was her impetus for becoming a bartender. She and Herritt want a trip to The BSGP to feel “like coming home.”
In fact, it feels a lot like going to The Club as most of the decor and all of the kitchen equipment remains the same. Though fresh paint, newly sealed and glazed table tops and a better use of the interior frontage along Duckworth street showcase the detail-oriented sensibilities of the new management.
Before Nellies, Herritt was at Blue on Water, and before that he came up the ranks from dishwasher to chef at Thirteen West in Corner Brook. He has always wanted to have his own restaurant and had kept his eye out for the right place since coming to St. John’s a decade ago.
Marston was the first to move when The Club closed down. She called Herritt while he was preparing for his wedding and a week after he was married (to Ashley Rodway who helps with the business end of the venture) they had the lease secured.
The food is billed as rustic comfort food and is a close cousin to what Herritt had created at Nautical Nellies; regulars will recognize his hand in the sweet and spicy vegetarian style chilli. Fresh kettle chips with three dips are served instead of bread before your meal, and the menu is a reasonable two pages, but covers a lot of ground.
It should be easy to find something for everyone. Sandwiches range from fried chicken on rosemary waffles to a vegetarian grilled cheese with banana peppers, sundried tomatoes and pesto aioli. Entrees include burgers with piles of toppings and sauces (fried eggs, bacon, tomato jam, whiskey BBQ), kale and cauliflower alfredo fettucine, lamb or vegetarian ragout, and salmon tacos.
The brunch menu is classic and comprehensive. Expect to spend $18 average for an entree at lunch and $30 average at supper, but there are cheaper options with large appetizers and sharing plates.
They have a full bar with local and craft beers, and a seasonally changing cocktail menu. The Fisherman’s Warm Up with housemade ginger syrup and Jack Daniels is a nice take on the hot toddy and a welcome treat on a cold wet day. On weekends, Marston makes a house sangria with “tons of fruit, triple sec, and Sauvignon Blanc.”
For now they are hoping to grow by word of mouth. Towards that end, I will say that the kettle chips are more-ish, the staff friendly, and I will definitely be heading down for brunch soon.