Friday, March 30, 2012

The Willow Inn in Hudson is Sold.


A view of Big Sur. Someone is selling this house on Sotheby's, 8 million. The house itself appears to be a box surrounded by windows.

This is the pic I have on my desktop right now. Not a bad choice, don't you think!

Still, most of us don't have 8 million to spend on a view. Most of us have to sneak our beautiful views where we can.

One of my favourite views is from the Bar at the Willow Inn, in Hudson Quebec.

World class,really. The water with the ferries, and the Mohawk burial grounds in the distance at Oka, and the little silver church, the view always changing with the season.

Actually, the resto is situated in the COMO area of Hudson. Como is so named because original settlers thought the area resembled the Como area of Italy.

Go to Sotheby's and check our property there. Expensive! Great views, you see. And not just of George Clooney.

Anyway, I just read in Your Local Journal that the Willow Inn has been sold. It's the end of an era.

The Willow Inn (or Auberge Willow Inn, the legal name, I assume) has been our favourite restaurant over the years.  If I could get back all the money for the meals I took there, my retirement fund would be in good shape.

My husband started taking me there when we met. It was the old Willow, the old building, before the fire in (I can't recall the exact year) around 1990.

He told me how "in his day" it was a bar where all the kids hung out, kids over 18. Playing darts and drinking cheap beer. 5 cents a glass or something.  He said he couldn't sneak in when under age, because everyone knew everyone in the small town.

By 1985, when I met my husband, the Willow was  a trendy restaurant, English Pub style, drawing clients from all over, as far as Montreal and Ottawa.  Especially in fall colour season.

My husband didn't like that fact, but I did.

I had only been to the Willow once before I met my husband. My Dad once took me there to celebrate something or other in 1976! My first job after graduation, maybe.

They had a simple menu, of traditional English Pub farr, burgers, a delicious steak sandwich, even steak and kidney pie. At the beginning, I usually had the bbq chicken thighs. Later on the fish and chips.

I remember telling Ken, the bartender there (a childhood friend of my husband's) that I never had a bad meal at the Willow, not in 10 years.

In those days, the Willow was just one of a handful of restaurants in the area, not like today.

And lately, my husband and I haven't gone there much. The food has been, how do you say? inconsistent. (The waitresses are still the nicest, though.)

I think they had trouble with staff, hiring kids. I know, because both my kids worked there when in high school. Doing dishes.

One of them has gone on to work in a very high end resto in Ottawa, the first one to serve seasonal Canadian fare, after training at another very good resto in our area,  the Maxime. He thinks the Willow should provide a spa across the street.

Anyway, the Willow Inn has now been sold, to a Mr. Poirier, the man who owns the local IGA's. Maybe that's a good marriage these days: The rising cost of food has not only been hard on the family budget, but also on restaurants.

That's one of the reasons Le Maxime closed last year.

The local rag says that the Willow will change, but only with time and eventually serve trendy seasonal and traditional pub fare. I guess with a vegetarian option, and gluten free option, etc, as these are the 2010's.

What's traditional pub fare, anyway?  In England, the pubs I visited served salmon fahitas and sushi.