The owners of Sudbury’s newest restaurant have years of experience working for others. The time was right for Jason Heaton and Dave Temmerman to open their own place.
“We loved working for other people, now we love working for ourselves,” says Temmerman.
Hardrock42 Gastropub opened at the end of May in the Days Inn downtown. (Most people still call the Elm St. hotel “The President.”)
Heaton was inspired to name the restaurant Hardrock42 after seeing an old photograph of main street with a banner that read, “Welcome to Sudbury Hardrock Miners.” The photograph is dated 1942.
While not overdoing the miner theme, the concept works well at Hardrock42. Photographs celebrating the city’s heritage decorate its walls. The decor is contemporary; the walls are painted an industrial slate grey which has a neutral effect that is calming and relaxing.
This place is a new experience for Sudburians. Hardrock42 features 10 drafts on tap from Ontario micro breweries. Suppliers include Flying Monkeys Brewery in Barrie and Hop City Brewery in Mississauga. Patrons can order five-ounce samplers of four different drafts (20 ounces) for under $6.
The chefs add a bit of booze to their recipes. The bratwurst on a bun is served with cabbage and onions sautéed in Steamwhistle pilsner. Cream ale is added to the Caesar salad dressing. Organic beer is used in the batter for the mushroom and onion rings appetizer.
There’s “drunken” whitefish poached in Happy Hour ale; the ribs are basted in signature Jack Daniels sauce. The house specialty is the huge Fork & Knife beefburger topped with pulled pork, three different cheeses, and toppings. That’s a lot of protein.
Pan fried Manitoulin whitefish with a light panko crust is a nice change from heavily battered deep fried cod or haddock served at other restaurants. This dish comes with a choice of fries, pub chips or sweet potato wedges, and freshly-made creamy coleslaw.
There are several vegetarian options such as the portabella burger, and the spinach and goat cheese wrap. Traditional pub food favourites include nachos, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken clubs, and chicken strips.
“We try to buy locally or at least from Ontario suppliers,” says Heaton. Suppliers include Golden Grain Bakery, Sweet Nothings, and Flanagan Food Services (Lively).
Buying locally and preparing food from scratch allows the owners to keep their prices reasonable. The most expensive thing on the menu is the rack of lamb seared and roasted with a mint and cherry brandy salsa ($25).
“Our customers are people who enjoy different experiences,” says Temmerman.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Hardrock42’s hours are a little longer than other restaurants because it serves hotel guests.
Ten-minute express lunch specials and other daily specials are posted on the restaurant’s Facebook and website pages. There are plans for live entertainment. Large screen televisions keep patrons up-to-date on sports events.
Temmerman, 41, and Heaton, 35, both studied to be chefs at Cambrian College, and have worked together previously. They are hands-on and even did their own renovations for this labour of love. The owners say they are happy to be located downtown and are encouraged by new apartment building developments, plans for an architectural school, and other initiatives revitalizing the city centre.