With over 65 years in the hospitality industry, the Charcoal Group has been representative of numerous innovative restaurant concepts including The Charcoal Steakhouse, Martini’s, and Beertown Public House. Although their restaurants are pushing the envelope from a culinary and beverage perspective, their core values of human connection and exceptional service has propelled the Charcoal group to numerous expansions across Southern Ontario.
Beertown Public House has created a loyal clientele since it’s first location opened in Waterloo. Boasting an extensive selection of specialty craft beer and quality food to pair, the chain has continued to thrive in Burlington, Oakville, and Guelph. After setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Charcoal welcomed it’s eighth Beertown Location in Downtown Toronto, inspiring hope and optimism for post-pandemic life.
There is an abundance of restaurants and bars in the downtown core. Whether independently owned or a large chain, new food joints must promise something unique to stand out in the city. The Toronto location of Beertown was in the works for 3 years prior to its grand opening this August and experienced many delays since March 2020. CEO and Partner Jody Palubiski reflects on the obstacles he faced with this location. “This is the third location that we are opening during this pandemic.
Toronto has been particularly hard-hit with prolonged lockdowns. That affected us from a construction perspective”. However, due to the overwhelming consumer demand and support of local restaurants, Jody and the Charcoal group are optimistic about the timing of this opening. “We couldn’t think of a better time to open our doors”.
Before making an impression in Toronto, Beertown had solidified its presence in Waterloo. The first real test for the Charcoal group was their arrival in Burlington. Jody recalls, “when we first went into Burlington, it was pretty scary. How would the brand translate?
Would people be aware of who we are at the Charcoal Group, and of Beertown?”. However, people were very receptive of the new concept restaurant. “We were absolutely blown away by the response and support that we received from the community at large. The hallmarks of who we are and what we do really resonated with people. After Burlington, we opened a location in Oakville”.
What exactly sets Beertown Public House apart? According to Jody, the selection of great-tasting food is on par with their specialty beers. Jody explains, “People are going to expect our commitment to great quality beers and our partnerships with the local breweries. But we see ourselves not as just a beer hall or house, we see ourselves as a part of the craft beer/dinning revolution.
We are pushing forward from a culinary perspective”. The Charcoal Group’s attention to detail is applied to every section of the menu, ensuring there is a great-tasting meal and exclusive drink for every customer. Chef Tod Clarmo is responsible for creating trendy dishes that exceed the expectations of average pub food. Jody praises his contributions to his restaurants. “Tod has continued to push the envelope from a culinary perspective. Particularly, some of the innovations that have resonated greatly with our communities is our plant-based offerings and our gluten-free options”.
As food trends change over time, the Charcoal Group restaurants will pivot to entice new and returning customers. However, their priority to being of service to others is the golden standard Jody uses to describe his team of “quality individuals”. “We are surrounded by people in our team who are committed to brightening today of their customers as well as fellow team members”.
The staff have continued to show up for each other throughout the numerous lockdowns. “One of the things we’ve done throughout the pandemic is we have pledged to call everyone on our team and check in. We have a fan-out system, so we will call each other and ask “how are you feeling these days?”, “are you doing okay?”.
Regarding the approach to hospitality, Jody describes the Charcoal Group as a little old-school. While food and drink menus are constantly being revitalized and modernized, Jody does not forget the simple acts that make a restaurant experience truly special. “Holding doors open for guests, pulling out chairs for them, even in a very casual environment.
That commitment to service and to finding opportunities to truly listen and connect”. The COVID-19 pandemic forced restaurants to close in-door dinning for more than a year collectively. Now that restaurants and bars are seeing a resurgence, Jody is reminded of the example he wants to set through the customer service at Beertown Toronto. “I find that a lot of hospitality businesses tend to be transactional or two-dimensional, rather than truly trying to build relationships and trust. We prioritize creating authentic relationships, which is the golden opportunity that comes with being in hospitality”.
For more information, visit https://charcoalgroup.ca/