Old Meets New at the Rich Uncle Tavern

 Photos by:  Brandon Scott

Photos by: Brandon Scott

** Written by our newest Local Advocate: Hannah Van Opstal

Smoke is the first thing to hit your senses as you open the door to the Rich Uncle Tavern. It’s delicious, enticing and more uncannily remiscent than expected, and yet, I became completely unaware of it within the first draw.

 Photo by:  Brandon Scott

Photo by: Brandon Scott

Then that blissfully familiar smell is paired with the visual of waiters dressed in plaid or jackets - likely from their grandfather’s attics - that are just slightly too tight for their sculptures, lamp lights that are overcast with a dusty shadow, and renovated cigar boxes with a fresh list of cocktails and craft beers. Let me tell you: it was one rich-as-hell uncle.

The Berlin, a German-influenced restaurant which was opened in 2006, was recently converted to the Rich Uncle Tavern in 2018, although remaining under the same ownership. The new version of the restaurant, located at 45 King St W, was aimed to “capitalize on the city’s downtown history in a similar way to the Berlin,” meaning - from my imagination - to allow the public to engage in social affairs with a good meal and a tasty beverage in front of them. Although I had never visited the Berlin, I was over-the-top pleased with The Rich Uncle Tavern for its authenticity and ingenuity.

Working with local designers, DFY Studio, Ignite Restaurant Group transformed the location with the intention of providing a more warm and inviting atmosphere. There are a number of diverse seating areas from high-top tables and the bar in the front and the traditional booth seating on the main floor to an upstairs library and event space upstairs.

My first taste of The Rich Uncle Tavern was its beers and ciders on draft, so we ordered from that ever-changing menu. I had a pear cider from West Ave in Toronto and it was fantastic. It was more dry than I had expected and I was over-the-moon.

Only moments after our drinks were delivered did our waiter return with the new question of our food choices. The whole menu looked so tasty! The food items were creative and sporadic, ranging from crispy pork rinds to crab toast to carrot salad. Eventually we decided to split our order, and for our first course we ordered the Spicy Green Salad.

To be honest, I was hoping for more cheese. But in terms of flavour, the salad was delicious. If you like lightly pickled crudite and spinach, the salad is for you.

The second course was the fish & chips, to split, with Parmesan fries (at no extra charge). My guest and I devoured the fish. Although it was a slightly smaller portion for two people, it was the Rich Uncle Tavern’s version of the tartar sauce that really captured the taste buds. We used it to dip our fish and our fries, and before we knew it, it was gone. It was only after our supper was finished, and we were ready, that our handsomely-overly-fitted server approached us with the bill.

Overall, I’d give this restaurant a three thumbs up with a recommendation to return again in the near future. The genuine Kitchener-influence is enough to keep me coming back for more, but it’s the atmosphere and the spirit of the Rich Uncle that will keep me so infatuated.