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Sudbury's new brewery restaurant looking to share positive vibes in dark times

Optimist Brewery & Kitchen is now open on Regent Street

After months of doom, gloom and social distancing, the team at Optimist Brewery & Kitchen decided they were tired of waiting for the pandemic to pass. Greater Sudbury needed a dose of optimism and they were ready to share it. 

This weekend, Sudbury’s newest brewery and kitchen officially opened its doors at 1500 Regent Street.

Located in the building formerly known as the Taphouse, owners John Arnold and Stacey Cameron said they wanted to do something "a little bit different" and the pandemic helped set things in motion.

"I always had a passion for craft beer and when COVID hit we decided to make the change." Arnold said. 

"Instead of staying open and trying to keep the lights on, we used that opportunity to close and transform."

Part of that transformation included adding an in-house brewery to the former private party room area. Walls were removed to make an open space to show off the copper brewhouse equipment.

Optimist's brewer, Michael Guillemette, is no stranger to the craft beer scene.

In 2013, Guillemette and Shawn Mailloux opened Stack Brewing, Sudbury's first brewery since the closure of Northern Breweries.  

At Optimist, Guillemette has crafted five beers so far and plans to introduce new, limited time brews for patrons to enjoy each month.

  • Sunshine, blonde lager (4%)
  • Rose Coloured Glasses, pink Belgian wheat (4.5%)
  • Strive, American IPA (6%)
  • Gratitude, cranberry wheat (5%)
  • Shift, black lager (4%)

"Shift is one I am particularly proud of," Guillemette said. "It has already been somewhat popular with anyone I've shown it to."

"I built it with the mindset that shifting people's attitudes towards dark beer. It scares a lot of people away but in this case, it doesn't taste like what it should taste like. It's not as chocolatey or roasty as you would expect dark beer to be. It's actually quite light, almost refreshing."

The buns, pizza crusts and granola are made in the kitchen using the spent grain after completed the brewing cycle. 

Some of the meats like burgers and sausage are locally sourced and the cocktail menu includes spirits from the local Crosscut Distillery

In keeping with COVID-19 protocols, Optimist is required to close at 11 p.m.

"In this day in time, right now, I think it makes sense," Cameron said. "Obviously, we'd love to serve till later but everyone's on the same page, trying to stay healthy and safe."

Although all COVID-19 protocols will be followed, Arnold recognizes that not everyone may feel comfortable in social settings. 

In the case of another provincial shutdown, the restaurant is prepared to offer curbside pick-up.

Customers can order take-out or delivery using Skip the Dishes and many of their products are available at the O+ Market located in the front section of the restaurant.

"We are providing the community with the ability to grab a growler or six pack to go," Arnold said. "But also we will be offering house-made grab-and-go items."

Reservations are encouraged and can be made by phoning  705-222-4827

Masks are required except while seated at your table. 

For more information, visit Optimist Brewery & Kitchen online.


Heather Green-Oliver

About the Author: Heather Green-Oliver

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