Tapping into creativity Collaborative venture in West Broadway brings together chefs, brewers, builders for new restaurant, taproom
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/02/2022 (192 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
If two heads are better than one, six heads must be downright revolutionary.
At least that’s the thinking behind One Sixteen, a new West Broadway taproom, wine bar and restaurant that brings three nomadic businesses together under one fixed address.
The venture at 116 Sherbrook St. is a collaboration among the founders of the Beer Can, Good Neighbour Brewing and Two Hands Catering.
“A lot of people have asked why we’d put our taproom in a space that houses two or three other brands or businesses. I think that’s a big part of what Good Neighbour is about: collaboration, supporting other people,” says Amber Sarraillon, who runs the brewery with partner Morgan Wielgosz. “It’s something we’re really passionate about.”
Beer Can co-owners Brad Chute and Neal McDonald have adopted a similar mindset during the last two years of running temporary outdoor patios in Winnipeg.
“The one thing we’ve learned is to partner with passionate people — it makes everything better and easier,” Chute says. “And partner with people who know things you don’t.”
A brick-and-mortar business was never part of the plan (and the Beer Can will likely return this summer), but the opportunity to set down roots in a busy neighbourhood full of independent businesses was too good to pass up.
The location became available in late 2020 when Stella’s closed its longtime Sherbrook Street restaurant after failing to bargain with its recently unionized workers. (The café still runs the bakery next door.)
Chute and McDonald signed the lease in July and got to work recruiting partners to share the 2,000-square-foot space.
They didn’t have to look far. Working with Good Neighbour was a natural progression — last summer, the brewery set up shop inside the Beer Can grounds at the Granite Curling Club — and Two Hands, made up of chefs Michael Robins and Keegan Misanchuk, came on board after hosting a pop-up dinner at the patio.
“The one thing we’ve learned is to partner with passionate people– it makes everything better and easier. And partner with people who know things you don’t.” – Brad Chute
Moving from an outdoor venue to an indoor one posed the biggest challenge — albeit a fun one.
“Brad and I were running a design and construction company for the last 10 years and a lot of the work we did was on restaurants,” says McDonald, who designed the interior of One Sixteen. “But I’ve never done a restaurant… for myself or for a group of partners that we were going to operate. There’s a lot more pride and pressure I put on myself, but it’s been super exciting and rewarding.”
“Neal designs very personally and this is his person out there, so if people hate it, he’s gonna take it personally,” Chute adds with a laugh.
The space is filled with natural wood — reminiscent of the Beer Can picnic tables — and clean lines inspired by Japanese and Scandinavian design. The taproom overlooking Sherbrook Street is meant to be a casual space with communal tables, bar seating and a pub menu, while the dining room offers a slightly more formal experience.
A long, L-shaped bar, with a dozen or so taps on one side and a wall of cocktail fixings on the other, creates a bridge between the food and drink concepts.
● ● ●
Unlike many brewery taprooms, when you walk through the doors of One Sixteen you won’t see big steel fermenting tanks or sacks of malt or hops.
That’s because Good Neighbour’s beer won’t be made on site. For now, Sarraillon and Wielgosz are continuing to produce their beer at Oxus Brewing Co.’s Sanford Street location, where they’ve been brewing since launching their line of beers in May 2021.
Like everyone involved with One Sixteen, the pair’s focus is bringing an elevated food and drink experience for guests. With that in mind, the pair enlisted some front-of-house help in the form of Rob Stansel, a sommelier and fervent beer buff who has written extensively about local brews via his Middle Tap website.
“It’s pretty incredible to have a properly trained sommelier who’s also a very passionate beer enthusiast who can elevate that experience on both sides,” says Wielgosz.
For Stansel, the move to work with Sarraillon and Wielgosz was a no-brainer. “The Good Neighbour brand has made sense to me from the moment they revealed it to me last winter. I’ve been a fan since Day 1 — my first Middle Tap story was about Morgan’s passion for Czech beer,” he says.
The trio are committed to delivering that food and drink experience without alienating potential diners or beer drinkers.
“It’s pretty incredible to have a properly trained sommelier who’s also a very passionate beer enthusiast who can elevate that experience on both sides.” – Morgan Wielgosz
“Our vision from the start for Good Neighbour has been a very inclusive space — trying to create a welcoming environment, make it very homey feeling so everyone will feel welcome here,” says Wielgosz. “We focused in on a very elevated experience in a very friendly, casual setting.”
“We want a place that has great beer, a good wine program, really good food program and we can show up in shorts and a T-shirt and feel great,” Sarraillon adds. “It shouldn’t be elevated in the sense that it’s exclusive.”
In addition to their six to eight regular offerings currently available in 473ml cans in Manitoba (which will be available for takeaway from One Sixteen), Good Neighbour’s taproom will feature some exclusive pours, including barrel-aged brews and small-batch beers.
For the wine program, Stansel consulted with Two Hands chefs Robins and Misanchuk, both of whom have worked in London, about their favourite U.K. watering holes for guidance.
“I asked them where they’d drink there, what restaurants were inspiring. They threw about 10 at me and I just went and dug into those drinks programs,” he says.
Initial wine offerings at One Sixteen will feature primarily Old World selections, with an emphasis on organic and/or biodynamic producers.
The focus on flavours means that unlike some other taprooms, Good Neighbour won’t offer flights of three-ounce pours.
“We’ll have seven-ounce pours but no flights,” explains Wielgosz. “For us it’s really about the sensory experience — when you have a flight of beers it can really nullify what you can get out of the beers.”
While most of the 12 taps behind the bar will feature Good Neighbour beers (including its first milkshake IPA), one will be committed to its non-alcoholic sparkling hop water, another to a gluten-free cider option and the third to a rotating guest tap from other locals. In addition to the standard beer taps, one is also set up for nitro pours for heavier, richer stouts.
But it’s the smallest, most unassuming tap behind the bar about which the trio is most excited — a Lukr side-pull tap for pouring Czech-style pilsners, the only one of its kind in the province. The tap can be opened incrementally to provide different foam levels into traditional dimpled beer mugs, including the mliko pour which is mostly foam, and which provides an entirely different texture and flavour experience.
“When I was in the Czech Republic and they let us behind the bars there, I learned how to use it,” Wielgosz says.
“All I wanted to do at Middle Tap is elevate the discourse a bit, expand the discourse, get people talking about craft beer in new ways.” – Rob Stansel
Stansel can’t wait to talk all things beer, wine and more (including cocktails) with One Sixteen patrons. “All I wanted to do at Middle Tap is elevate the discourse a bit, expand the discourse, get people talking about craft beer in new ways,” he says. “Now I get to do that here, with this great team — to talk about drinks, about food pairing, about what people are smelling or tasting.”
And while Wielgosz and Sarraillon are focused on getting One Sixteen up and running, the wheels are well in motion behind the scenes on opening a brewery of their own nearby to set up their fermenting tanks and get brewing.
“We’re in the process of securing a location in this neighborhood,” says Wielgosz. “We’ve got to do due diligence and go through the city for zoning. In the next few weeks, we’ll get word on whether that’s been approved. If so, we’re hoping to be brewing there soon… maybe by summer.”• • •
Michael Robins, previously of Sous Sol, and Keegan Misanchuk, formerly of Segovia, have created a pair of menus inspired by their cooking experiences in London. Until the pandemic hit, the chefs had spent several years working in restaurants across the pond.
They started hosting local pop-up events as Two Hands Catering last summer and are looking forward to a slightly less transient existence.
“We have an actual oven,” Robins says with a laugh.
“And putting food on plates,” Misanchuk adds. “We didn’t do much of that over the summer — it was working outside and using compostable containers. So that’s pretty exciting.”
To ease the logistics of opening and to present their food as intended, the chefs have no plans to offer takeout for the time being. The restaurant side will open later this month, serving dinner Wednesday to Sunday, with a menu that pairs tightly with the wine list and will shift with the seasons. Current dishes include things like such as charcoal grilled pickerel with butter-poached mussels, stewed white beans and broccoli.
In order to achieve the chefs’ vision, the pre-existing kitchen was totally gutted. A charcoal fire grill, for example, has replaced the flat top previously used for flipping eggs and bacon.
“I think this neighbourhood needs something like this — a nice restaurant but also a casual place to come for beers.”– Keegan Misanchuk
“In one way it’s a bit more daunting,” Robins says of the custom kitchen. “We’ve got all the equipment, so there’s no excuses now… when you’re sitting in a field grilling a bunch of lamb legs hanging from a tree there’s an opportunity to be like, ‘Oh, this isn’t exactly how we wanted it.’ Here, we need to knock it out of the park.”
The taproom, which opens today, will serve seven days a week, from 3 to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The food menu is approached with the same care as in the dining room, but with less pomp. Really good British pub food is the goal, with items such as sausage rolls, fried oysters, crispy layered potato cakes, smoked goldeye dip and soda bread made with Good Neighbour beer.
One Sixteen adds a new, upscale dining option to a strip populated by breakfast joints, grab-and-go cafes and casual family restaurants.
“There’s so much community around here with Wolseley and West Broadway,” Misanchuk says. “And I think this neighbourhood needs something like this — a nice restaurant but also a casual place to come for beers.”
Much like the menu, the concept for One Sixteen will continue to evolve. The owners are working with Never Better Coffee to offer a solid caffeinated beverage selection and are planning on testing out a winter patio this year. The long-term vision includes partnership with more local brands and a bigger footprint.
“There’s more to come,” McDonald says.
“We have plans for other spaces within this building and we’re hoping to make this a pretty cool (spot),” Chute adds. “I love this area and hopefully we can help get it to that place that it could be, that it should be, that it will be.”
Visit onesixteenwpg.com for more information.
Literary editor, drinks writer
Ben Sigurdson edits the Free Press books section, and also writes about wine, beer and spirits.
Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.