The owners and visionaries behind Crow. Bar and Variety march to the beat of their own drum, but it is a catchy beat.
Their new Collingwood spot is as much a music stage as it is a restaurant. "Music is a huge component, even though we want to be known as a restaurant," said Steven Vipond, co-owner of Crow with his wife Jennifer and their partner Shaun Edmonstone.
Jennifer, Steven and Edmonstone are the also the brains behind Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury - a spot known for it's impeccable wine list and incredible food.
"Bruce is seven years old now, and we felt we had a team in place that could manage it and we wanted to branch out with something a bit more fun, and with more music," said Jennifer.
Crow is located on First Street in Collingwood next to the Shipyards Medical Centre and across from the new Bank of Montreal. The Vipond's opened the doors there on July 11.
The building has been completely re-done to reflect the artistic, laid back, yet eclectic vibe of Jennifer and Steven. "We tend to do things very organically," said Jennifer.
Steven is a builder by trade and did much of the work himself, including the driftwood chandelier.
The stage is front and centre and the sound system is state-of-the art. "We believe in local music," said Steven. "We believe in supporting the arts."
In fact, Steven is doing more than supporting local artists, he's discovering them and handing them a platform for others to discover them too. Wednesday nights starting at 8 p.m. are residency nights - one local act gets the stage every Wednesday for a month. "It's aimed at local musicians," said Steven. "Most places won't give a band with no experience a chance, but we do."
Thursday nights Craig Smith runs an open mic night starting at 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Crow brings in bands from all over the world, including Australia and Vancouver.
There's no cover charge for enjoying the bands, but in the interest of supporting the musicians playing at Crow, there is a tip jug circulated after the show.
Other arts events have also been hosted on Crow's stage, including a recent Story Slam.
The food at Crow is not upstaged by the - stage. It's also mostly local and - like Bruce Wine Bar - sensational.
The menu is eclectic - from jerk chicken pizza to kefir fried organic chicken to a smoked whitefish pancake appetizer - and sourced from local farms such as Grandview, Roy L. Acres, Sideroads, Kolapore Gardens and Collingwood Bread Company. Crow is also on track to be certified Ocean Wise Approved for its ethically sourced seafood.
Jennifer, a Certified Sommelier, built a concise wine list with a variety of options to pair well with the menu and the music.
Crow is open for lunch, mid afternoon, happy hour and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. The kitchen is open from noon to 10:30 p.m. with late night bites available after 10:30.
By Erika Engel