City Bites

Opening next week! Rich Wilson gets ready to launch The Pomeroy House in the Glebe

After opening for a few months last summer “just to give people a taste of what was to come,” {segue} restaurant in the Glebe closed up shop for an extended reno to release The Pomeroy House.

Chef Rich Wilson is promising that the new kid on the block will quickly become a neighbourhood gathering spot — comfortable and bustling, with casual banquettes and a welcoming bar. “It will be ‘come as you are’ but with high-end comfort food,” says Wilson. He took a break from overseeing the finishing touches to the renovation to tell us what’s in store for guests of The Pomeroy House.

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Chef Rich Wilson (shown here at home) plans to launch the much-awaited The Pomeroy House next week. Photograph by Luther Caverly

Chef Rich Wilson is promising that the new kid on the block will quickly become a neighbourhood gathering spot — comfortable and bustling, with casual banquettes and a welcoming bar. “It will be ‘come as you are’ but with high-end comfort food,” says Wilson. He took a break from overseeing the finishing touches to the renovation to tell us what’s in store for guests of The Pomeroy House.

You honed your skills as a sous-chef at Beckta. Why open your own restaurant?
At a certain point, you want to run with your own ideas. My fiancée [Lindsay Gordon] and I had been intending to open a restaurant for several years. The time was right!

Why the Glebe?
We love the neighbourhood. When we first moved to Ottawa [from Peterborough] this is where we lived. I believe the Glebe is on the rise again. There’s lots going on here, including Lansdowne, and the neighbours are very supportive of their local restaurants.

You closed a year ago and the renovation took longer than expected. What happened?
Yes! We were originally supposed to reopen in January, but permits took longer than expected and because this is such an old building, every time we opened up a wall we discovered another mess. The renovation basically turned into a demo job. But it’s been worth it. Having to do more than we planned actually allowed us to make this restaurant truly ‘ours.’

What have you been up to on your enforced year “off?”
Other than overseeing the reno, I’ve been planning the menu. Since last fall, I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen and drafting a menu each month in the hopes that The Pomeroy House would open. I’ve now got my seasonal menus pretty much planned for a full year.

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A banquette at the back of the restaurant features a window viewpoint into the busy kitchen.

Can you give us a hint or two about what to expect?
I would describe the menu as refined, modern comfort food. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen refining dishes from around the world, manipulating them to take advantage of local ingredients. So, for instance, I’ve been working on a really great recipe that’s inspired by Creole flavours, but it’s not like the whole menu will have a Creole theme.

I notice that there’s a huge window that looks into the kitchen. What’s that about?
There’s going to be an eight-seat table for groups right outside that window so guests can look in and watch us working. The plating station and pastry station are set up right by the window, so you can see everything coming together.

And the bar? It’s huge.
Yes, there’s a big S-shaped bar along the one wall, which means extra space for sitting at the bar. I want people to come and hang out here, mingle, and enjoy a good scotch or whatever. I wanted to make the bar a centrepiece to the room.

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In a nice touch, the lights were created using a range of decanters.

Sixty-five seats is pretty big. You’re obviously not working alone.
I’m working with a great bunch of people. My fiancée, Lindsay [Gordon], is the GM and wine director. Tyler [Uguccioni], the sous-chef, used to work at {segue} with me, and Brendan [Macfarlane] was chef de cuisine at Gezellig. Our pastry chef, Adrienne [Courey], has worked at Beckta and Brothers Beer Bistro.

What are you most excited about?
Finally opening! I can’t wait to serve people again. It’s so much fun to make people’s day if you can. I can’t wait to be in the space with my staff and engaged with our guests.

The coverings have finally been removed and The Pomeroy House takes its place along the Glebe strip.
The coverings have finally been removed and The Pomeroy House takes its place along the Glebe strip.