The Urbanite – Jon Liedtke – Oct. 22, 2014
Rebranded restaurant hopes to age like fine whisky
Even though Windsor is known for its whisky, a new establishment on Ottawa Street is catering to Windsor’s bourbon drinkers.
Owners Ryan Casier, Peppe Scalia, Joe Sperduti and George Marar recently opened The Bourbon Tap & Grill at 1199 Ottawa St., the former location of Per Bacco Ristorante, of which Sperduti was an owner.
The four owners spent time brainstorming what the theme of the restaurant should be, and after drinking some beers they “came up with the name Bourbon and followed that theme [with] rustic [items], barrels and the old bourbon days,” said Sperduti.
Casier worked at Per Bacco Ristorante for the past nine years and following Scalia’s entrance as a partner, he introduced the three to Marar before getting together and creating The Bourbon.
The doors opened a few weeks ago, but the business was only in development for a period of months. “It was a very quick turnaround, a lot of hard work, a lot of hard nights and it all turned out really good,” said Sperduti.
Per Bacco Ristorante and The Bourbon are very different restaurants, and Sperduti recognizes it will take time to re-establish his clientele.
“It’s going to be hard, it’s going to take a little bit of time, but I think it’ll be good … I think it’s the right move, but that it’ll take people some time to get used to it.”
Ottawa Street is in the midst of a minor rebirth and Sperduti believes the restaurant will fit in with the landscape.
“We’re glad other places are opening up … we want to be a part of Ottawa Street to give it a whole new name and new atmosphere and have things grow back up and get it hoppin’ again.”
When asked why focus on a bourbon bar in a city known primarily for its whisky industry, Sperduti, an avid bourbon drinker, noted that the city lacked a bourbon pub and that he wanted highlight the spirit in Windsor.
While not currently at full stock, The Bourbon will import specialty bourbons and will feature brands of bourbon “people have never heard of before,” according to Sperduti.
Bourbon will be incorporated throughout the full-service menu — including a bourbon hamburger — which will be changed every three months with the seasons. The owners plan on establishing relationships with local vendors to source local food and ingredients.
Jonathon Liedtke is the managing editor of The Urbanite, Windsor’s alternative newspaper. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.