(PHOTO: Kevin Conway and Alli Pearce, co-owners of The Jack Ketch on Stitttsville Main. Photo by Barry Gray.)
It’s been a long time coming, but Kevin Conway and Alli Pearce are finally set to open The Jack Ketch restaurant on Stittsville Main Street.
They’ll work out the kinks with two friends-and-family nights on Thursday and Friday, and then open to the general public on Saturday night, October 21.
The restaurant is in an old building formerly occupied by Brown Bear Daycare. Conway and Pearce have turned it into a 30-seat restaurant that they describe as a “contemporary rustic cosy nook kind of place”. The menu is contemporary, including some French Canadian-inspired dishes and a lot of locally-sourced ingredients.
Conway is originally from Stittsville and has been cooking for nearly 15 years. He started at the Kanata Lakes Golf and Country Club as a dishwasher at 16, then worked his way up to where he is today. He ran a couple restaurants in Toronto, and more recently worked as a sous-chef at several Ottawa restaurants including Social (Byward Market), MeNa (Preston Street), Rosie’s Southern Kitchen (Bank Street) and Whalesbone (Elgin).
“I’ve worked for a lot of great chefs, and this opportunity came up to come back home. I’ve been trying to start something in Stittsville for years and years now. Nothing caught my eye, or opportunities were cost-prohibitive. Then I saw this building for sale,” Conway told me back in January.
“I grew up in Stittsville and always thought we could use a little something. I grew up eating at Napoli’s every week, getting some New Queen on the odd occasion. It will be nice to slow down and do something local and something meaningful. People are trying to stay a bit more local and support their own community. It was time for me to support my own community.”
While Conway runs the kitchen, his partner Alli will be running front of house. She brings a wealth of experience herself, having worked in the restaurant industry since she was a teenager.
“She’s the sommelier-cocktail wizard, front of house, hostess-server,” says Conway.
Conway says the restaurant is named after “an old english executioner who was notoriously drunk. That’s my dark sense of humour. It’s going to be a nice place, a fun little vibe, not taking ourselves too seriously.”
(The Jack Ketch is located at 1536 Stittsville Main Street. Open for dinner, with hours expanding over the coming weeks. See www.thejackketch.com for menu and info.)