15 Jun GLB BARSTOOL CHATS – Dennis Kimeda, The Wren
This is the second GLB Barstool Chat in our new weekly blog series that will introduce you to a number of amazing people running some of the best craft beer bars in Ontario. As they say in Law and Order – these are their stories.
Meet… Dennis Kimeda, the co-owner of The Wren on Danforth Avenue in Toronto.
What is your role at the establishment
Owner / General Manager
How many years have you been there?
How many years in the industry?
What GLB beer is currently available on tap?
Sunnyside Session IPA / No Chance with Miranda Saison
Favourite GLB beer?
Loose Lips Blood Orange IPA (collab with The Wren!) Also, THRUST! An IPA
How did your establishment get started?
Needed a job. Figured opening a craft beer pub couldn’t be so hard.
How would you describe your bar to a person who has never been there before?
Cozy neighbourhood joint. Scratch made food, local craft beers on tap.
Where did the name originate from and what does it mean?
Wrens are well-know for their love of craft beer and chimichangas.
Tell the GLB customers something about your establishment that the general public might not know.
Rhonda (Co-owner, wife, teacher, interpretative dancer) and I wanted to open the kind of place where if you spilled your beer it wouldn’t be a big deal. (But we don’t encourage it.)
What is it that you love about the hospitality industry that gets reflected in your day to day role?
Drinking buddies always available in an emergency.
What other bars do you frequent when you’re not at your place?
Lake Inez, Eulalie’s Corner Store, The Only, Thirsty & Miserable, Cold Tea, Sauce, Bar Hop, Volo, C’est What.
You’ve curated a great beer menu, one that get lots of attention. Can you shed some light on your decision making process?
I believe in choosing the best beers from as local (and typically that means fresher) as possible. And the best beer in my opinion is brewed by good folks who have a passion for what they’re doing, are committed to putting out the best beer they can, and stand behind it. It’s sort of a given that these are smaller, independent breweries and brewpubs.
Building a solid menu is a balance between what you personally like and what you just know is good. You should have a few choices that will please the crowd (and easily pair with food) but you can stand behind, and some that are new, exciting and more adventurous.
I like places that have an opinion. If the the draft list isn’t perfectly balanced or covers a lot of styles, I don’t mind. If I can tell the person who made the choices has an opinion, that says to me they’re passionate about beer and made these choices because they truly believe they’re good.
Tell the GLB supporters out there reading this about your food menu. What makes it stand out?
It’s pub grub but with southwestern, Central American & sometimes Asian twists. It’s creative food made my people to like to eat fun stuff. It’s laid-back but can be surprising. And we Instagram the special almost every day.
Get it off your chest – what have you wanted to tell your customers that you haven’t up to date?
We like you and think you’re fun to hang out with.