The doors are open at Mudtown Station.
The former Canadian Pacific Railway station on Owen Sound's east harbour is once again bustling with activity with the opening of the brewpub and restaurant on Friday.
“It is nice to finally see this place open,” Owner and brewmaster Morag Kloeze said mid-afternoon on Saturday. “It has been great so far.”
Kloeze said they didn't make a huge deal about their opening hoping to ease into it a bit, but word got out on social media and the community has responded by turning up in droves.
“Definitely right off the bat (Friday) was pretty intense,” Kloeze said. “We are getting there.”
Kloeze said she wasn't surprised at how quickly the community has responded as there was a lot of buzz on social media leading up to their opening.
“We wanted to add to the community as much as possible, not only as a place for people to go and eat, but we want to create employment, we want to create community and all that stuff,” said Kloeze. “We want to help develop the waterfront as well.”
Kloeze said the transformation of the station has been amazing and it has come together fast, just in time for the opening.
“Thursday morning this looked like a construction site, but it came together pretty fast,” said Kloeze. “About three weeks ago we finally told the trades that (May 18) is the day and they did really well to get everything out of here by then.”
They did a test run on Thursday and opened on Friday, with word getting out on the street immediately with people waiting outside when the doors opened.
The restaurant is offering up a full menu of brunch, lunch and dinner options by chef Tyler Cunningham that Kloeze described as high-quality food without a fine-dining stigma.
“Our chef Tyler is sourcing a lot of our ingredients locally and pretty much everything is made in house,” Kloeze said.
The brewing equipment is installed and ready to go but awaiting inspection. Kloeze hopes that will happen ASAP and once that inspection happens the beer will be ready to serve two weeks later.
“It is too bad about the brewery, but this gives us a chance to work out the kinks and we have the beer on tap,” Kloeze said.
Currently they are offering up a list of nine craft beers, including selections from Macleans Ales in Hanover, Grey Matter Beer in Kincardine, Sawdust City Brewing in Gravenhurst, Outlaw Brew in Southampton, Anderson Craft Ales in London, Side Launch Brewing in Collingwood and Fairweather Brewing in Hamilton.
As for the beers to be brewed on site, Kloeze said the recipes and ingredients for six beer styles are ready to go, including a golden ale, a brown ale, a rye pale ale, a dark cranberry saison, a coffee stout and a Morrocan wheat.
Kloeze said the styles will change over time. “It will just depend on my mood,” she said.
The station has been updated, but maintains a classic 1940s-industria look, with an exposed brick wall and beams in the bar area along with railway-themed decor such as train crossing lights and signs. The ticket counter remains, while the dining room still resembles a train station waiting area complete with bench seating.
In all there is seating for 80 indoors and room for another 80 outside on the patio overlooking the harbour.
Kloeze said it has become what she envisioned.
“It was hard when you walked in this place to see a vision, but I was usually pretty clear on what I wanted to do,” she said.
The station, built in 1946, is once again being used after sitting vacant for years. The city bought it in 2010 from the federal government and worked to fix it up, with negotiations with a potential tenant beginning in 2014.
The talks ended in 2016 when the potential leasee notified the city that he would no longer pursue his plan, which led Owen Sound to reissue a request for proposals.
That is when the Kloeze family stepped up and a long-term lease was signed last year.
Kloeze said the experience of getting the station ready for opening has been great so far, and they have worked closely with the city.
“The city has worked with us quite a bit to get this place open and develop the waterfront,” said Kloeze. “They have a whole plan.”