It’s evident that Aaron Young, serial entrepreneur and business leader, has a clear-eyed vision for his much-anticipated new business, the Pie Eyed Monk Brewery.
Located near the corner of Kent and Cambridge Streets in Lindsay, it’s a vision that’s not really about just one business, but something bigger – something like a destination point.
The vision for its April-May opening entails, well, beer of course — but also this; a restaurant; a pizza oven; an open-concept kitchen; a 14-person bar rail (because who wants to stand around without a drink in their hand, waiting for a seat); a wrap-around patio; private dining room; a 150-person event space upstairs; and live entertainment, to name only some of the things locals and tourists alike can look forward to experiencing.
Young points out that what drives him and his partner, Jennifer Boksman, is not just a vision for their own business but for downtown Lindsay as a full-on destination point. (In addition to Young and Boksman, there are four other local business partners involved in the brewery.)
“And beyond downtown Lindsay there’s a vision here for Kawartha Lakes, too,” he says, referencing the fact that a couple other brewers exist in Bobcaygeon and Fenelon Falls. But that’s another story.
In conversation with another brew house in the region, Young was told that 400 people showed up in a single week one summer — just to experience the brewery and tour it.
“Where do you think those people went?” asks Young rhetorically, pointing out all the spin-off places that would have benefited.
“We absolutely want to work with our other restaurant partners, and with other retailers,” says Young.
He’s been in touch with the Olympia Restaurant, Nesbitt’s Meat Market, and many other downtown businesses to find out how Pie Eyed Monk can operate alongside other established businesses as part of a vibrant Lindsay downtown.
“We want to work with everyone so we can push that traffic around,” Young says.
Young says he has tried to build things “that enhance the town,” such as his stake in Days Inn & Suites Lindsay, where 11 business people got together, 10 of them local, to ensure Lindsay had a premier hotel for tourists and conferences.
He envisions the traffic that might be drawn to Pie Eyed Monk as moving about the town, in order to create economic wellness for everyone.
“Maybe they go for dinner somewhere else if they’re here for a bit. Maybe they catch a play at the Academy Theatre. We see this as a great thing for the area.”
Five of the Pie Eyed Monk brews are already crafted. Those five brews will soon be brought in-house under the care of their classically-trained brew masters, and then three more brews will be added for a total of eight.
As we stand in the middle of the main room, imposing metal fermenters and other pieces of equipment sit off in a corner, idle but hopeful of their work to come. Men at work are buzzing around, moving construction material and shaping what is yet to be. For someone who makes their living writing, and not construction, it’s difficult to envision a fully-open restaurant by the end of April — or even by the May long weekend.
Young assures me the May long weekend is their “drop-dead opening date,” if not before.
He points to a section of the room where the Kawartha Lakes’ only authentic Italian wood fired pizza oven will be located, and the fact that they will be offering take-out and delivery service.
“If you want to pick up 12 beer and a pizza to take home and watch the game, no problem,” he says, pointing out they have the necessary licensing in place to sell beer on site, or via walk-in traffic.
The full-service kitchen will include freshly-made pastas, gourmet burgers, and a 16-foot, custom-made smoker for brisket and pulled pork, among other foods. There will be a gluten-free and vegan menu. There will even be a reduced-gluten beer option.
“Being foodies, Jennifer and I have tried to incorporate everything we’ve learned,” says Young.
One of the coolest aspects of the brewery (let’s just call a spade a spade) will be the ‘exposed’ fermenters and brew house. Jutting up from the cellar, their top half in view of customers, they promise to be another distinctive feature of the Pie Eyed Monk.
It’s easy to picture a live band in the corner, the smell of pizza cooking, and the laughter of patio patrons, enjoying the great weather while holding a locally-made brew.
And if Young and his partners’ vision brings hundreds of newcomers to Lindsay to see this hub of activity, then by all means let them come.
Our town – our sprawling, growing City – can only gain from their entrepreneurism.