by Deron Johnston

For well over a decade, 13-17 Clothier Street has been the site of the best in local music and local food. It’s a tradition Shelley Stinson and Ken Baird plan to keep alive and well for many years to come. The owners of the South Branch Bistro have been working feverishly to renovate the restaurant, the patio and the menu to get ready for their grand opening, which happened this past Saturday, October 1.

After a formal ribbon cutting ceremony right out in front of the restaurant that included Ken, Shelley, their staff and a few members of North Grenville council, Mayor David Gordon presented Shelley and Ken with a congratulatory scroll from the municipality and one from Leeds Grenville MPP Steve Clark who was unable to attend.

Ken and Shelley were excited to talk about the fact that the South Branch Bistro will now be open seven days a week, starting at 9:00am to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef Jason Low, formerly of Lock 17, is a very recent addition to the staff and is very excited to lead the kitchen staff and continue working with local suppliers like Rideau Pines Farm in North Gower. Along with continuing to serve the incredible beef brisket that people love, they’ve also added oysters and other seafood offerings from sustainable seafood supplier Whalesbone in Ottawa. And beer lovers need not worry, as the South Branch Bistro will continue to offer an excellent variety of Ontario craft beers on tap, along with a couple of mainstream favourites.

Live music will also continue to be an important part of the restaurant, as they plan to have it every Friday and Saturday night, plus the always popular ‘open mic’ on Sunday afternoons. Instead of charging a cover charge, as in the past, the music will now be free for everyone coming into the restaurant. Local musicians will also be prominently featured, as North Grenville is blessed to have an abundance of local musical talent.

For those fans of downtown Kemptville, the South Branch Bistro seems to be perfectly positioned to create another important social hub for the downtown area. By creating more of these social hubs downtown, it will only make the area more of a destination for residents and visitors alike. Shelley and Ken seem to fully understand that concept and have created a warm and comfortable place where people will want to meet and connect over a cold beer, a great meal or both.

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