Inspired by his fascination with food chef Brad Long opened My Place: A Canadian Pub in Bloor West Village, alongside pub owner Randy Metcalfe, with intentions of connecting more with the community.
“The neighbourhood needed something like this,” said Metcalfe.
My Place is in the former location of Billy Bob’s Bistro and Saloon, which closed down a couple of years ago. The closure left many residents without a place to hang out.
Metcalfe and Long came to the rescue.
“A lot of (residents) liked the idea that we kept a lot of the heritage but we upgraded things, and just made it new and interesting,” said Metcalfe. “It closed down pretty suddenly.”
During renovation, neighbours were so eager to get into the pub that they banged on windows and even walked into the building.
“It had a lot of history to it, so as soon as they saw that some doors were open, they were coming in,” Metcalfe said.
Long said pubs play an important role in communities.
“We are part of the neighbourhood. It’s for the people that are around us, that’s what pubs are meant to be,” Long said.
Being that Metcalfe used to visit Billy Bob’s, he was inspired to bring the pub back to life.
“When it became available I had some interest in seeing it come back,” he said.
Long said food also plays an important role in the community.
“Food is extremely important. Food is fuel, food is love,” said Long, who has been working in the business for 25 years. “You should share it with your family and friends.”
The duo first worked together at the Air Canada Centre — Metcalfe as a project manager and Long as an executive chef.
Metcalfe said business has been good so far.
“We’ve got quite a few of the original clientele coming back, there’s been a lot of new clientele also,” he said.
However, Long said success doesn’t come easy.
“It’s a lot of work, it’s about being passionate about food and willing to experiment. You work hard, long hours and try to make the best decisions.”
Long also owns his own farm, is also a chef at Veritas Restaurant on King Street E., and has hosted the television show Restaurant Makeover. He began cooking in the early 1980s, at a club on Yonge Street called Upper Lip.
Spread across five floors, My Place, which opened in October 2009, offers a rooftop patio, live bands, events, party rooms, and serves Canadian food.
Metcalfe said another reason the location is so popular is because Billy Bob’s, which operated for about 25 years, was the first pub in the neighbourhood to ever be a licensed facility.
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