Review an eatery without ever stepping foot inside? How can that be done? If you consider that the place in question is the creation of local community supporter and enthusiast Brian Paquette, you’ll find your answer. Brian and his wife Vanessa MacLellan moved to Smiths Falls only 7 years ago, but they’ve both made major and positive marks in this community. For Brian, the Axe and Arrow (located at 2 Russell St E, the former home of Coffee Culture) will be the sixth business enterprise which includes such notables as Café Whim (in the Davidson’s Courtyard at 7 Russell St. W.) and Smiths Falls Gym Fitness Centre (now operating as Zendragon Martial Arts). He brings over 30 years of experience in restaurant kitchens of all types and takes pride in every aspect of his culinary approaches, constantly aiming for a great dining out experience, whether it’s a breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or anything in between. As he puts it, “you’ve got to have the right food, served in the right atmosphere, by the right people.” As Café Whim has exceeded all attendants’ expectations from day one and now consistently draws visitors from far afield, it’s hard to argue with his methods.
Brian’s plans for the Axe and Arrow menu reflect his current offerings at Café Whim. There will be a wide variety of crafted sandwiches and platters, gourmet burgers, among others, with an international twist on existing pub favourites. Think mouthwatering delights such as duck sliders, tacos, and raw tuna bowls for example, all prepared fresh to order. Brian will continue his strong support of craft beers but will also offer a few popular North American brews to keep fans happy. Being an inventive recycler and re-purposer, the Axe and Arrow will keep a current take-out counter in place to provide those in a rush with a great alternative to mass-market fast food that they can enjoy at work or home. Being named a pub, the bar will be a focal point of the large space and will be built using some heritage lumber from an area 150-year-old home. An extremely large farmhouse style community table will serve as a place for new friends to become acquainted. And for live music entertainment lovers there will be a combo corner to add just the right atmosphere.
Brian looks at what he’s done at Davidson’s Courtyard and at the Axe and Arrow as part of a revitalization of the Russell Street village, which he considers to be the heart of downtown Smiths Falls. He’s noticed a trend in day visitors from all over Eastern Ontario benefitting not only his businesses but the entire community. He’s overwhelmed at the amount of support he’s received from all corners including facility upgrade grants, a loyal customer base, and the large number of youth who attend his martial arts school and their families.
The Axe and Arrow Gastropub will be open for breakfast lunch and dinner with exact times to be announced and Brian expects to cut the ribbon in early December. You can check out their progress and drool over upcoming menu items at their Facebook page titled Axe & Arrow Gastropub. See you there!