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ExCuria: Modern Cuisine Revives this Historic Building

ExCuria: Modern Cuisine Revives this Historic Building



The Thunder Bay trend of new gastro pub food offerings continues with the exploding success of with ExCuria, located in the south core between the Fort William Gardens and the Courthouse. “ExCuria” is a Latin for “away from court.”
From day one, in July of 2015, their success was so great they were unprepared for the swarm. They even shut down for two weeks to reorganize. “The response from the city was unbelievable,” says Chris Bernst, one of the two owners, and who has, on his own, started six businesses and has worked in the food and beverage industry for many years. “We had to buy another fridge,” Chris laughs.

Since reopening the restaurant has not slowed. With wait times up to an hour, including Mondays, it’s important to point out that they don’t take reservations. However, on the Thursday night I attended everyone was seated within ten minutes. 

The owners and managers are thrilled and kept happily busy. The chefs and staff are in constant motion in a fun and fast paced workplace. Tables are filled and people parade in and out the arched doorway and up the spiral wood staircase.

This corner castle-styled former home was built in 1898 and first owned by John McKellar, Thunder Bay’s first mayor. George Coo owned it until the 1950s when it became a 4plex, then a Christmas store and then a craft shop. In 1981, it was designated a Heritage Building. The home’s current incarnation is as a completely renovated eclectic Victorian styled pub/restaurant with an industrial theme giving it a bit of the Steam Punk feel.

Chris Bennet points out, “We constructed the restaurant to be something different than what you normally see in Thunder Bay serving gastro pub food with lots of British foods ¬– comfort foods with a twist. Some foods are tapas, but not quite tapas.”

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The menu will change over time, but as of this writing lunches include some classics and some unusual fare. You have choices of Grilled Steak and Portabella Mushroom Spinach Salad with crispy onion rings, grape tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, blue cheese and balsamic-roasted garlic dressing. A Grilled Chicken Waldorf Salad contains grapes, sliced apple, toasted walnuts, celery, dried cranberry and a light citrus-yogurt dressing over a bed of arugula.

Lunch also offers Quinoa Grilled Vegetable and Kale Salad, Beef Pot Roast Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding, Vegetarian Coconut Curry, Chicken and Smoked Ham Pot Pie, Steak and Mushroom Poutine (a favourite apparently), ExCuria Burger, Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burger, Sleeping Giant Skull Rock Stout Braised Beef Short Rib Sliders and Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich.

So, if you’re finding it hard to choose from the lunch menu, the dinner menu offerings are just as various and tantalizing. Dinner offers include the likes of: Wild Boar Bangers and Mash, ExCuria Burger (big favourite with contents too long to list), Chicken and Smoked Ham Pot Pie, English Style Fish and Chips, Pan Roasted Lemon-Thyme Chicken, Lamb Cottage Pie, Beef Pot Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding, Carmalized Atlantic Salmon and Garlic Shrimp.

There are also a good deal of small plates offered (many very unique), and all manner of beers, (locally brewed and imported), and wines, and liquors. They have daily specials, innovative cocktails, “Golden Age” cocktails, and much more. And ExCuria has also joined the trend of ensuring that most of their ingredients are locally produced.

It’s sure bet that you won’t be disappointed. 

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