Denis Craddock, Brew House on the Grand (Ep 03)
In this episode, Elora Fergus Podcast host Ryan Joyce chats with the owner of the Brew House on the Grand, Denis Craddock. We chat about how the Brew House might change because of the pandemic, he shares what the response has been like from the Elora & Fergus community, and more. Listen Now
On this episode with Denis Craddock from Brew House on the Grand
Have their been any food availability issues?
Who does the signs at the Brew House?
Denis' drink of choice to mix and to drink
Brew House is famous for trivia, how does Denis with three local trivia questions?
Has Denis eaten haggis?
How they are explaining COVID pandemic with their two-year-old son
Denis Craddock - Brew House on the Grand
"How does Denis do with local trivia? Dr Abraham Groves was famous for...."
Audio Transcript with Denis Craddock
Denis Craddock: So we're pretty much at two full months.
Ryan Joyce: How do you think this is going to impact? Like how are you going to change?
Denis Craddock: I think that we, in terms of opening will be definitely last phase just because of the, the containment in restaurants, right? Yeah. I don't know if that, the whole, the whole game will change. We might be doing disposable menus. I don't know if there's a lot of things to look at, but I hope there's, there's some type of help from the government in terms of what they're looking for.
Ryan Joyce: It's going to be interesting times, uh, and will last to get into I've tons of questions. I mean obviously right now it's just never been, none of us have been through this before, but you were like the poster boy for Fergus. I mean you've got the Scottish look. How long did it take to grow the Scottish beard?
Denis Craddock: This comes up pretty quick to be honest with you, not that long ago. Yeah. Plus with a hairy face and no hair on top. So
Ryan Joyce: yeah, certainly I have a lot more reason now. There's no need to shave. I guess in the pandemic time, how can people support you in the community now?
Denis Craddock: Well the support's been incredible and we're still doing takeout delivery. Um, so we're running delivery from Tuesday through Saturday. We're closed on Mondays and then take out Tuesday through Sunday. So no delivery on the Sundays. And yeah, at first I was like quite overwhelmed bye. Like emotionally by the support it was quite touching. Like the phone was ringing off the hook and I know that we probably angered some people cause we just couldn't get to their phone calls. Right. Um, so that was, that was touching. It was, it was really nice to see because day one you're just, you're terrified that everything's going to sink. It's been enough for us to keep the lights on and get a few people employed for us.
Ryan Joyce: Yeah. Cause you're in addition to the public kitchen area, you also have like combination services. It's a big operation that you have there. And I'm curious, have you been a Fergus resident all your life?
Denis Craddock: No. No. I've been here about a decade now. I think it was 2010 when I moved here. 2011 maybe, but I grew up not far from here. Just a little East amaranth. Oh yeah. Which is essentially between Orangeville and grand Valley and Oh my goodness, the township, it's gotta be small. Laurel is the closest village. I think the population there might be 500. Right. But yeah, I grew up in the country there, left and went to Hamilton. It's spent maybe 12 years in Hamilton, once a Mac. And then stuck around there. And then while I was there, my family. So it was just, what did you study? Didn't finish, but I was in philosophy and then while they're started managing restaurants and stuck with that,
Ryan Joyce: is there an interest in culinary arts or is it more like a managerial interest? Where's your
Denis Craddock: hospitality? Like I really like the interaction with people. Um, okay. That's where I seem to Excel. So yeah, I can't imagine doing anything else. Like it started with bartending and it's just a slow progression into this.
Ryan Joyce: What's your drink of choice to mix them
Denis Craddock: to consume? Probably white Russians to make, I don't know. I like doing like those, like they're not classic martinis, but fun TVs like shit, get something up. Yeah, we're making it tasty.
Ryan Joyce: Are you good in the kitchen? Are you someone that can whip up some dishes and things or,
Denis Craddock: Oh, I did a summer when I was working in Hamilton where I thought, you know what? I want to make some extra money so I will do extra shifts in the kitchen and I was kind of like the salad prop guy. I ended up paying more people to cover my shifts back there. It's just not my realm. I'm not, I'm not the IO. All the praise to those guys in the kitchen. It's tough work. It's hot. Yes, it's fast. It's repetitive. It's okay.
Ryan Joyce: It is a fast moving industry. I'm sure I, I've never personally worked there. I have a lot of respect as as someone who's literally lived out of a restaurant touring life. I ate at a restaurant three meals a day for over six months of the year, every year for 20 years. So I have a huge respect for, for everybody in the kitchen. I'm curious, you might not know this then, I'm sure you do. What? Is there any odd requests? Anything unusual? Someone has asked for
Denis Craddock: jumps right off the plate, but um, cause people are picky about food, especially like in the last maybe decade or so. Like dietary restrictions have really come to the forefront like celiac and things like that. So, uh, there's a legitimate concern about why cross contamination issues could come up. But for some people you almost want to say like if it's that do or die, like don't take the risk. Like our kitchen is so tiny and you'll have people that say like, if there's a speck of gluten in my food, like terrible, terrible. Right. And we will do, it's scary. I don't know how big our kitchen is. Maybe 600 square feet if that. And there's a lot of brand back there, right? There's a lot of flower and totally. Yeah. But no, in terms of like something wild. So some people will take one dish and just completely transform it. So what they want, it's like jerk chicken cheese sandwich. Let's take the chicken off and replace it with beef. Let's take the sauce off and create your own, but, which I think can be frustrating for the kitchen, but they're pretty have. They're pretty good back there.
Ryan Joyce: Have you had any like ingredient availability issues in light of everything that's going on?
Denis Craddock: Our supply chain has been pretty good, actually. The only thing I can think of is we used to get these six inch taco shells. Oh yeah. We had to replace them with like little three inch, so we've just taken the tacos off the menu.
Ryan Joyce: Oh, is that the case? What's the most popular item right now?
Denis Craddock: It would be burgers. Burgers are going really well. Wings or wings always do. Oh yeah. That's like a nice Hardy Scottish meal that seems to just really
Ryan Joyce: wait. You guys also are you? You're, your whole place is just so much fun. Like we had the whole wow festival some of the events there. Yeah. Yeah, and I've always, always loved your establishment. You really have a fun vibe in the signs out front. Who does the signs?
Denis Craddock: It's a combination of myself and Glenn. He's the British guy that works the day shifts change that sign. It's been the same for maybe two months now.
Ryan Joyce: Not a lot of people are really, well I guess the highway six is pretty traffic, but that's all right. People understand. Totally. You also have trivia. Trivia is kind of a thing in your world. I prepared a couple of trivia questions, not just for you, but for everybody floating around. I have three. I'd be curious. These are local. Yeah, these are, these are local, so like no pressure. I'll start with the first one. Uh, dr Abraham Abraham groves is famous for being the first Canadian physician to, is it a where surgical gloves be performed? The first epidemic, dummy C, perform the first, uh, litho, lithotomy or D. All of the above.
Denis Craddock: This was talk to your groves. Let's, let's call them.
Ryan Joyce: I, all I got was let, so we can, I didn't hear any of that. So good. Try it. Great. And try again. Oh, did we lose it there? Yeah, totally did.
Denis Craddock: Yeah. You heard my answer was correct, right? I was saying that like, let's say you really went for it and it was D all of the above.
Ryan Joyce: Yeah, that's really it. There's some speculation about him being the first to wear surgical gloves, but he was definitely one of the first to like lead the way for having a very sanitized area and the gloves, it's speculated he's the first one. Other than that, the rest of it's pretty secure. Yeah, yeah, he sure would. Yeah. It's crazy how fast those those emptied out. My goodness. And I was talking to Patrick Anderson just this morning about up at FreshCo and he said in all of his years in retail, he's never seen anything like that toilet paper sorted, so rubber gloves and toilet paper. That would have been a fun topic for sure. Oh yeah. He's, he hadn't been opened a month before all of this transpired, so he hasn't had any moment to rest. All right, so question number two Fergus or little falls was founded in 1833 one year later it became the first town in Ontario with a public library, B hospitals, C curling club or D max convenience store.
Let's go see the crawling club. That is correct. I, yeah, that is absolutely correct. This is a real big curling area. I'm not a curler at all. Zero curling. I got to have no sports ability, so I just steered away from, have you ever curled before? No, I've never thrown a rock. I think it would be fun. Yeah. I think it would be great way to embarrass yourself. Um, played on a soccer when I was a kid. I want to go, I think I'm going to start playing splosh so, Oh yeah, new brackets. Yeah. That's a good social distance sport. Yeah, for sure. It's quite the workout. I could use that. Yeah. Cause you could even do that solo if you want.
All right, final question. When the Fergus grand theater opened in 1928 who sent a telegram on opening night, was it a, the Royal Alexander theater in Toronto? Was it be the head of MGM studios in Hollywood, California? Was it? See Fred Trump, Donald Trump's father or D Lloyd Robertson from CTV 1928 Royal Alexander theater. That is incorrect. Actually. It's, believe it or not, it's the head of the MGM studios. Yeah. This was fun to research some of these things. This is, yeah, that, that really shocked me the most. It was also a cable television station for a short period of time. Yeah. Yeah, I believe so. Fergus Fergus Elora cable I think is what it was called, which, so like I mentioned right at the top, you are kind of the Scottish, you know, a good image for the Scottish. I know. That's very true. I know that. So let's do the official Scottish litmus test. All right. Because I've been asking everybody this. So three questions of the first, have you ever eaten haggis? No. No. Oh, interesting. I have, I have once, I'm actually vegetarian for like 20 years now, but just before that I had consumed a little bit of the haggis once. Have you ever worn a kilt? Yes. Oh, you have? Okay. I have not. I have not done that expo, say yet. And third, uh, have you ever played the bagpiper at least? No,
Denis Craddock: I haven't even put it on Kilz, which is like a workman's kilt.
Ryan Joyce: Oh yeah.
Denis Craddock: Like the, the festivities here. I thought we should definitely dress the part if we could. Um, but the other two, no, I guess I would try it. Yeah, I have when things get back up and running and maybe like a Robbie burdens day or something like that, we should have an official get somebody in and do the cutting of the haggis. I'm surprised actually that we haven't,
Ryan Joyce: it certainly is a, is an interesting food and you have a brand new um, child. Is he one year old? He'll be two in June. Second birthday is right around the corner. Time is really flying. Obviously they school or anything hasn't started yet. So in that, in terms of that space, you're pretty, you're timing is all right for the pandemic. I suppose
Denis Craddock: we've been lucky enough to Mmm. Give them simple explanations on why we can't do certain things and can you just like accepts them without question, like the Park's broken. Cool. Cool dad. Hopefully it's fixed. Yeah. That's been one of the biggest silver lining is we've adjusted our hours here. Yeah. And it's given me a lot more time at home. Like the days started later, I may actually finish earlier.
Ryan Joyce: Right. So
Denis Craddock: what kind of stuff out of this whole thing to find a couple of silver linings has been nice.
Ryan Joyce: Absolutely. What kind of activities are you doing to keep busy in the spare time?
Denis Craddock: Right now we're going on just a ton of walks. Like he's on a pretty regimented routine. Uh, so we do our walks in the morning, my in laws, my parents live in the country. So luckily enough we can go out there and, and really explore the outdoors. Not bad. So we've taken advantage of our out time outside time.
Ryan Joyce: Sure. Yeah. Well there's the weather's something we can look forward to. That is for sure. And it will be nice to open up and it'll be nice to be back in the Brew House enjoying dinner and lunch and food. So thank you. Yeah, we're, I'm glad to hear the support and I can't wait to actually see you in person. So thanks so much. How can people follow you guys? What's the best way to keep in touch with the Brew? House
Denis Craddock: I would say Facebook is where we have the most activity. We definitely have our webpage and Instagram as well, but yeah, that Facebook was where we're most current.
Amazing. Denis thanks so much for your time. I appreciate it.