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Let’s eat! Hardrock 42 is a ‘temple to beer’ and good food

Elm Street gastropub chef owner Dave Temmerman talks pandemic manoeuvring celebrating a decade serving Sudbury

“Ten years in May!” It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade. Sudbury knows this is the place to go for the best selection of beer in the city. “It feels like it was yesterday,” Dave Temmerman said, recalling the day he and Jason Heaton opened the Hardrock42 Gastropub.

These two chefs had been crossing paths for years, so it only seemed natural they then team up. Where to create the dream? The Days Inn (formerly the Clarion and before that The President Hotel) has proven to be just the right spot. 

“It’s Sudbury, so we celebrate our mining history in our name.” 

Despite much speculation the 42 is not from “The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” It came instead from a photo reminisce of the Sudbury streetscape. “Here’s the vintage image on the far wall.” Temmerman points to the indistinct writing in the corner.  

“We had a good laugh when we discovered it actually was ’52, but the 42 felt right … sort of the perfect answer.” 

And it has been the perfect location. 

“Many people find this very central and though it doesn’t look like there is much parking, have a look around the back. Clients have always come for the beer. We pride ourselves on what we choose to offer.  There are so many different styles. You can do pairings even. We started with 11 drafts and now have 66 taps. Every time we did a reno we added more. I love beer, personally.” 

Me too. I’m sold.  So what about food?

It is a simple straightforward menu with a cheeky twist. Only one page, one side. The funniest item on the menu has to be The Knuckle Sandwich. Lobster and sweet chili sauce are the key ingredients. 

There are starters for sharing, including a charcuterie platter. The lunch target on this visit was the Rueben, but it is easy to get distracted. Marble rye plus grainy mustard, some might call it the classic presentation.

“We have kept some items from day one. The Roasted Red Pepper soup has been here since that first day. Probably the Wicked Thai Soup, too. Some of the staff have been here since we started.”

What is the No. 1 thing people order? “Burgers, but there are mains like beer-battered fish and the mushroom striploin. Then there are two-for-one wings all day Tuesdays. We get the biggest wings we can,” Temmerman smiles widely. “We don’t have a huge menu: eight salads, eight or so burgers and many handhelds.”

Classic ’60s and ’70s tunes play in the background. 

“It fits the style and it is a crowd-pleaser. We used to be open 363 days of the year with breakfasts at 7 a.m., but since COVID we scaled back.  Sure, we did take-out during the difficult times. Yes, you can include beer in your take-home order. What a bonus! 

“Our little bottle shop has improved choice for clients hugely. I scour Ontario for the best breweries and beer.  I use the ‘Untapped’ App to search for and see beer ratings. We have four right now from Fairweather Brewing in Hamilton. I’m pretty proud of our little fridge.” 

There it is, right as you come in.

Yes, phenomenal beers across this province are showcased as they are discovered; Temmerman especially seeks those not found in the LCBO shelves.

“Things are ever changing. Hardrock42 is a temple to beer. Craft beer has really taken off and there is now such diversity.”

Busiest times and days? “Tuesday, Thursday, Fridays,” said Temmerman. “Sure we are good for families with kids. Couples, friends, everyone is welcome. In my own world now, closing early and Sundays off sure has changed my lifestyle. But, I’m looking forward to the time when we have a waitlist again and everyone is back to work. People were really supportive over the bad times. We have been fortunate.

“You can have the right concept, the right location, the right staff and even then you can get it wrong.” 

Hardrock42 got it right 10 years ago; they continue to do so today.

Hardrock42 Gastropub
Closed Sundays
117 Elm St
Find them on Facebook

Hugh Kruzel is a committed foodie and a freelance writer in Greater Sudbury. Let’s Eat is made possible by our Community Leaders Program. Are you an advertiser? Learn more about our Community Leaders Program here.