Opening a restaurant on Newmarket’s Main Street is a homecoming for Regan Irvine.
Irvine, who owns and operates The Irv Gastro Pub in Toronto, has partnered with Mike D'Angela to open in The George Brew House and Eatery at 236 Main St. S.
“I’m from Newmarket, grew up in Newmarket. Most of my family and my buddies are up there as well,” Irvine said. “We were looking at putting a place in Newmarket eventually. That was just kind of the best-case scenario for us and the quickest way to get there.
“We’re so happy to be part of this. It was all about coming home from me,” Irvine added.
The Irv at The George will be opening March 1. While The George will continue its brewery service, The Irv will be taking over the kitchen and restaurant portion, which Irvine said they would look to do in perpetuity.
George Brew House owner D’Angela said he has sought a stable restaurant partner for several months. The business, which opened in December 2019, has had different temporary restaurant arrangements since the pandemic began, with D’Angela stepping back from kitchen management due to pandemic-related shutdowns.
But after going through several different chefs, D’Angela said he connected with Irvine after the pub ran a pop-up at the Cachet Supper Club several weeks ago.
“It was just kind of a good fit,” D’Angela said. “He brings to the table, basically, what I was looking for. Somebody that’s going to take over the back.”
Irvine said he has been in the restaurant industry for a while, partnering with others. But when his father Bob Irvine passed away due to ALS in 2013, he wanted to open a place of his own to pay tribute to his father, “the man they called Irv.” He opened the pub in Toronto a year later.
“I wanted to go and pay homage to him and just go from there,” Irvine said. “We’ve been eight years strong here. We’re a very busy, popular spot.”
Irvine said he was not opposed to finding a different space for expansion, but he said he fell for The George as soon as he walked in.
“The space was everything that I kind of felt was my vision for my spot,” he said. “As soon as I walked in, I knew this was the place we had to be. It just kind of came together very quickly and very positively.”
The two businesses, now in one space, have been preparing for a few weeks to start things up. Irvine said they have been hiring staff and kitchen training for the new restaurant.
D’Angela said they will become part of each other’s businesses, with the food and brews complimenting each other.
“It’s been a crazy ride,” D’Angela said. “But we’re still here, and I still believe in the place, and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”
“I’m just happy to be home,” Irvine said. “We're ready to do something that people are going to love.”