It can be confirmed. Pursuing a dream will transform Bill Crumplin from professor, to purveyor. Knowhere Public House Inc. is on track to open its doors as Sudbury’s newest restaurant/bar.
“We have taken over the space formerly known as Café Obscura … located in the Dalron Building at 130 Elm St. across from Dance Evolution and Roy’s Furniture,” Crumplin says.
If you have lived long in Sudbury you might recall this site was the Dodge-Chrysler showroom and garage of Gardner Motors Ltd. from 1921 to 1998.
In light of the current lockdown, this a pretty bold move, but one gets the sense this is all a well-thought-out game plan; a well-timed transfer and transformation.
“We are having some renovations done that will need various approvals and work by others, so the opening date is not completely in our control. We are hoping that it will be the long weekend in May.”
Along with venture partner Kaitlin Lutyk, they are working with many other local businesses and food growers to build relationships, and partnerships, in terms of products and education.
“Along this line, we will be buying as many things as possible in bulk from The Nickel Refillery and following their advice to reduce our waste streams.” They are on a mission to serve Sudbury the best local foods and drink “… in a beautiful and soulful space, while whole-heartedly supporting sustainable farm practices and embracing the zero waste movement.”
This ethos is embraced by the team of two: “Bill developed and taught a second-year course called ‘Diet, Food Choice and the Environment’ at Laurentian. This course linked the impacts of the western diet to the environment.”
Lutyk continues: “Our vision imagines a world where we connect with the products we consume, while supporting local farmers and makers and lightening our impact on our planet.”
Lutyk and Crumplin offered this assessment of how they found themselves on this trajectory: “Bill and Kaitlin both bring their love for the environment, animals and people to this venture. Bill has run for the Green Party both provincially and federally and has recently retired from the School of the Environment at Laurentian. They bring their passions to the business.
"Kaitlin has tended bar in Toronto and locally at The Laughing Buddha and enjoys making cocktails and all aspects of being a bartender. Bill has volunteered at 46 North Brewery doing everything from mopping floors to bottling beer to serving customers to doing quality control. He loved the experience.”
They appear to be natural complements to each other.
Crumplin admits he has always wanted to have a little bar. Lutyk has equally had the same burning desire.
“The concept behind our café has been a dream of Kaitlin’s for years and last summer she and I had chatted about having a food truck, but we backed away from that idea after some research. I have long thought about having a pub and Kaitlin found this opportunity. The timing was fortuitous in that Kaitlin learned from David Weiwell, of Café Obscura, that he was hoping to move his film and camera business elsewhere and wanted to sell his assets and have someone take over his lease.”
The menu will be based on locally and seasonally available food items. “We envision a simple menu with healthy options and we will be able to inform our patrons where the food came from and why we have selected it. We will offer breakfast in-house, and things to go. For lunch - and into the evening - we will offer soup, sandwiches, snacks, small plates and even Popcorn from Optimist.
"Of course, we will have coffee, by Old Rock, for in-house and take-out. Our new kitchen will also allow us to bake muffins, cakes, pies and pastries. We will not serve deep-fried foods.”
Lutyk and Crumplin have assumed the liquor license of Café Obscura and will have a permitted patio under the canopy of the building at the corner of Elm where College becomes Lorne Street. They will serve craft beer from local and Ontario breweries, as well as Ontario VQA wines and spirits.
Sitting in the sunshine on a curved, plush, conversation-stimulating piece of furniture the co-owners confidently say this will be a success.
“We frequently hear from people that they can’t wait for us to open.”
There certainly will be a thirst for Knowhere Public House once COVID restrictions are relaxed.
The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.
Hugh Kruzel, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star