Anyone who has been around North Bay long enough will remember the Beef n’ Brand Bar and Grill when it was located at the mall on Fisher Street.
Over the years the restaurant has changed hands multiple times.
The locally owned family restaurant, now located on Pinewood Park Drive, is continuing the long-standing tradition of serving up delicious food in a comfortable, relaxed environment.
“I don’t just serve food, I serve nostalgia on a platter. The recipes are there from 40 years ago and I could say they’re well tested,” stated new owner Les Joseph.
“We are a cross between a diner and a franchised bar and grill. We provide the comfort food North Bay is used to, at a more affordable price.”
Customers can get their day going with standard breakfast fare Monday to Saturday starting at 7 a.m.
But that is just a teaser leading up to the phenomenal Sunday brunch buffet served from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
“It is back based on demand from people asking for the return of the brunch buffet.”
Joseph is particularly proud of the numerous buffet options which the owner describes as a healthy mix of breakfast and lunch items.
“We have eggs Florentine, eggs benedict and we have the standard meats like bacon, ham and sausages. There is also an omelette station where customers can pick which ingredients they want for their omelette and someone will be cook the omelettes for them as they request,” explained Joseph.
“And we also have a carving station where there will be a ham or roast beef or brisket at times and lots of salad options. Fruit salad is also on the menu and lots and lots of desserts.”
Joseph says the key to his buffet is that no two Sundays are ever exactly the same.
“Every Sunday we switch up what we can, except of course the core items. That way if you come in every Sunday, you still have a variety of things you get to try that you didn’t have the week before. We try to stay away from the consistency of a boring buffet and have a bit more options.”
“Our head Chef Rob Hough is a very adventurous guy and comes up with some pretty interesting dishes for the buffet.”
On this Sunday Hough offered an inside round roast and a beef brisket.
“We have three entrees, it is usually a chicken, a beef and a pasta dish. This week it is beef bourguignon, and then we have a burrito pasta and a chicken in a white wine cream sauce.”
The cost is $21.95 for adults, $18.95 for seniors 65 plus and $12.95 for children. The prices of course will vary depending on special event days, such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day “ because the menu will incorporate a lot more pricier items.”
The restaurant also offers daily specials. And it provides an extensive lunch and dinner menu option.
“Our regular day-to-day business we have some staples that are very popular. The item that surprised me the most is our liver and onions and how popular it is at Beef n’ Brand,” Joseph observed.
“The biggest draw always comes from our homemade burgers. It is an eight-ounce patty, so you are getting your money’s worth on that dish. And our fish and chips are also very popular. They are freshly battered with a nice homemade batter and definitely a crowd favourite.”
Joseph believes the popularity of the food is from maintaining the tried and true recipes developed over the years.
“We take pride in making as much of it in-house rather than opening a package to cook.”
The daily soups are always made in-house.
“We stay away from the packaged soups. The Beef n’ Brand has a 40-year legacy. We are still to this day using the original recipes that came from the original restaurant and I think that is our biggest threat. With our clientele, I can 100 per cent say the regulars that I see and the stories that I hear is ‘We used to go to the one in the mall all the time and I used to go with my partner.’ I know my Tuesday crowd, I know my Wednesday crowd, the staples of the business. And I think I am extremely lucky to inherit a business that has such a very loyal following.”
The restaurant has a seating capacity of about 200 people.
“We have the space to host parties, 50 or 60 people,” said Joseph.
“We have the capacity to give sports teams the space they need. And I’m sure we’re one of the few places that can take 20 or 30 people without a reservation or on very short notice to actually be able to host. We’ve been tested many times with that,” he grinned.
One of the kitchen's signature dishes is the Space Filler burger.
“It is one that I would rave about because not only is it mouth-watering, it is actually very easy on the eyes too, the way it is presented on a platter,” shared Joseph.
“The fact the burger is fresh and made in-house, it definitely gives us the biggest advantage on the burger. It comes topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and mushrooms, served with the works.”
For anyone with a sweet tooth, there is one dessert in particular that has a long history with the restaurant and is another crowd-pleaser.
“Believe it or not the cheesecake at Beef n’ Brand has a reputation on its own and I am blessed to have the same gentleman, Len, who actually made the original cheesecake at Beef n’ Brand, still making it for us. You can choose from many flavours, blueberry, strawberry, chocolate and cherry. Len was the chef at the Northgate location where he ran the restaurant for almost 25 years.”
Always looking for something new to offer customers, Joseph is looking forward to the Burger Bonanza. He is still working out a date for that event.
It is a way to challenge the staff and keep their creative juices flowing.
“We do a competition among the staff. The staff will come up with different types of burgers, and whichever burger ends up selling the most ends up taking the pot. It’s a way to keep the morale up and have a lot of fun.”
With the idea of fun still in mind, Joseph is working on the concept of offering a high tea.
“I want to take it back to the sandwiches, the scones because that is what I remember from my grandma. And I would have loved to have seen my girls with my grandma"
The bar is open until 11 p.m. with a bar menu.
For more information on times, menu items and prices, visit the restaurant’s website at beefnbrand.ca or call 705-478-8739.