Feature articles

Loretto Tavern oozes charm and nostalgia

April 13, 2016   ·   0 Comments

By Mark Pavilons

loretto don pouring
The grand old lady in Loretto has some great bones. Now she’s getting new legs, thanks to the efforts of an experienced entrepreneur.
Don Beattie is doing what he does best – breathing new life into existing establishments. He is adamant about bringing the Loretto Tavern back to its former glory, with a few modern tweaks.
While some restaurant chains are trying to reproduce nostalgia in their themed premises, Loretto Tavern is the real deal. It’s an authentic, rustic country tavern, with roots dating back to 1873. Gone are the hitching posts, but if you close your eyes, you can smell the saddle soap, boot leather and wooden beams. It’s a honky tonk oasis in a fast-paced modern world. Today, you may be hard pressed to do some horse trading, but there was a time …
There are signs, licence plates and photographs that are older than some of the patrons. The regulars have been coming to the tavern literally “forever.”
It’s not just nostalgia that draws the customers. The restaurant is known for serving the best chicken wings around, and on Wednesday night wing night, people come from far and wide.
Loretto Tavern now offers a DJ on Friday nights and live music on Saturday nights. The bands mainly perform country and soft rock. The massive dance floor, something of an oddity these days in the GTA, can hold upwards of 100 people.
Beattie and his partner created Brooks Sports Bar & Lounge in Bolton, taking over from the former Boston Pizza franchise.
Beattie said they like to take chances and enjoy reviving and revamping their establishments. They weren’t aggressively looking for another restaurant and really “stumbled” upon the tavern. They paid it a visit on wing night and were literally “blown away.”
While their two restaurants are worlds apart, Beattie sees this as a challenging opportunity. The Loretto Tavern exudes atmosphere and charm and with some modern additions and improved kitchen, this place will rock.
It’s also a great venue for local bands and Beattie is actively looking for more bands to entertain.
The tavern is a popular spot among line dancers, who flock there on Thursday nights for their weekly sessions.
While the place resembles a roadhouse, the food is far from typical. Beattie is proud of serving some quality dishes to their patrons.
The go-to burgers are the staple, but you can also enjoy pasta and a nice New York striploin. Try the cheeseburger soup or southwest Irish nachos. The prices are reasonable, topping out at $25. The fun and friendly staff and great service are a bonus.
Beattie said they’re adding to the menu and will have some great weekly specials. He’s confident people will come in for the food and atmosphere and leave with a smile.
The Loretto House became an inn and hotel before it evolved into the restaurant. It has gone through several incarnations over the past 143 years, but the country charm remains.
And that’s exactly how it should be.
Check out the Loretto Tavern on Highway 50 west of Beeton, a short drive from Bolton, Orangeville or King.


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