(PHOTO: ALE general manager Sarah St. Michael (left) with Nicolle Carson, assistant / bar manager. They’re are holding ALE’s crab spring rolls. Photo by Barry Gray)
EDITOR’S NOTE: The restaurant space at Amberwood Golf and Country Club has been home to several different restaurants over the past few years, most recently Bistrofiftyfour and before that the Wild Wood Steak & Chop House. A new team with deep roots in the Stittsville area, including the McConville family who run The Glen, think they’ve found the right concept with ALE. Here’s an edited version of an email interview with general manager Sarah St. Michael.
STITTSVILLECENTRAL.CA: Tell us about the food and drink at the restaurant?
SARAH ST. MICHAEL: Our Red Seal certified executive chef has created a menu that consists of simple items that have been refined and elevated. For example, our frites are seasoned with rosemary-sea salt and served with truffle aioli. The entire menu is very conducive to mixing and sharing. You can really tailor your meal to your hunger level depending on the items you choose. Some of our menu items include sharing boards, burgers, tacos and signature sandwiches. We will soon be offering entree features at dinner time, as well as Sunday brunch starting mid-May.
Seeing as our name is ALE, we wanted to do something interesting with our beer. We will be offering different craft/local beers on draught every two to three weeks. Currently we are featuring Ashton Brewing Company on our first three taps. ALE also offers some fantastic signature cocktails which are classic drinks with a modern twist. These include, our Champagne Cosmo and ALE Caesar. Our wine list is small but we have chosen wines with distinct and different flavors.
SC: Who makes up the ownership and management team?
ST. MICHAEL: Nicolle Carson and I are in charge of the regular dining operations at ALE. I have worked in the dining industry for over ten years and have worked with the McConville family for over five years in a management role. I am incredibly excited and happy to be a major part of ALE’s management team. Nicolle has many years of restaurant experience, as well as formal education regarding the hospitality industry. Nicolle currently lives in Stittsville and I grew up in Stittsville and now live in Kanata. James Clarke (part of the McConville family) is helping with the start up, along with special events. He is assisting us and is always nearby if we need his guidance.
TMSI (Thunderbird Management Services Inc.) and specifically its president, Darin McCorris, played a significant role in the development of ALE and we are thankful for all of TMSI’s continuous support.
SC: For anyone who hasn’t been to the venue before, how would you describe it?
ST. MICHAEL: It was really important to us to make ALE the perfect balance between casual and fine dining. We wanted ALE to be the kind of place where you could happily have a beverage after golf but also bring a date for a special night out or host your wedding reception at. We have created movable partitions that help us define and create spaces for regular dining operations, as well as both small and large special events.
Significant cosmetic renovations have been done at ALE. The decor is based on a neutral colour palette and is modern while still reflecting classic elements. The covered patio at ALE is large and the view is absolutely gorgeous. It makes you forget that you are in the middle of a residential community. In my opinion, it’s the best patio in the west end of Ottawa!
Although ALE is a part of Amberwood Golf and Country Club, we want people to know that you don’t have to be a club member or golfer to come into our restaurant and see what we have to offer. We are really excited to offer the community this great new dining destination!