A Legend Returns
While undergoing an expansion and renovation run in March 2014, a devastating fire brought down the iconic Respect is Burning Supperclub, a popular downtown restaurant and events mecca since 2001. After almost two years in hiatus, it’s back on the scene in an even BIGGER way as the completely re-imagined Respect is Burning Kitchen + Bar – and this time it’s part of a larger multi chambered food and entertainment mecca pegged ‘THE DURHAM SOCIAL’ . Rob Gregorini, founder and creator of The Durham Social and its myriad of interconnected chambers and concepts - gave us glimpse into his ‘Brand Old’ social playground.
“It's been a long journey and our doors jammed shut for almost two years. But I'm so glad I made that complicated, hard decision to work it out and see it all through again. Better than ever by a mile, I think!”
The re-invented version 2016 redesign is more casual than it's ever been, with tremendous and unusual thought put into design and materials chosen – and it’s clearly captured that vintage, texturally heavy and aged, worn and well-loved Italian community tavern ‘feel ‘ where community gathers often for simple, beautiful eats at comfortable prices.
The upcycle quotient here is staggering: over 400 last generation palettes were ripped apart for board use – playing heavily into expansive ceiling and pillar details. Ancient iron’s been revisited as fixtures, railings and racks. Ripped and reclaimed vintage bowling alley hardwoods have been reworked into wainscoting, staircases, landings, bathroom vanities and serveries. Yard sale, flea market and church sale vintage lighting glows the space and keeps bar company with a million year old slab of marble makes it all come alive in beautiful concert with ancient, scarred concrete, gnarly brick walls and fire kissed fire ancient wooden spacers.
It’s Beautiful Ugly. You get the picture – it’s ambitious, thoughtful, and one of a kind all over again! What’s on offer? Flavour packed rustic plates from the family vaults - a super tasty combination of classics from the past, a snapshot of Italian immigrant cooking rooted in memories of dear Nonnas long ago cooking for family and their hungry offspring gathered around the Sunday family dining table or sharing late night bites with friends and family around the Italian pantry kitchen.
There’s a whole lot going on here - delicious rustic small plates, charcuterie, preserves, grilled meat bites, crispy snacks - AND a wicked fresh pasta selection that borders on encyclopedic, and sure to make heaven with a bottle of chilled white, refreshing craft draft, or any number of simple or noble reds in the house. Share if you want to or eat it alone, it’s Vintage Italian Tavern and Home Cooking - Soul Food for Friends and Family. And it’s SO good.
Even more? The Durham Social Kitchens are cooking late every weekend on weekends now! The Respect is Burning Kitchen + Bar dining room hums and vibes with a beautifully mixed and highly social crowd noshing and drinking crowd late into the night so those who aren't into the 'bar scene' can be a part of Downtown Sudbury in a buzzing, cool, sexy and edgy space that's not just a restaurant anymore…and it doesn’t end there!
Portal through ‘that hole in the wall’ and enter The Red Fang Tavern - a tight, dense, textural space that screams of Mexican Cantina, Spanish bar, Italian Birreria/Pizzeria, Indian Pub and Southern US dive bar all at once. Tequila, bourbons, more taps and bottles, and a flow of travel-mashed Tavern small bites (serviced by the same kitchen as the Respect is Burning Kitchen + Bar) make this a perfect nosh stop and entertaining chamber with a killer vibe. The Tavern houses a tight reclaimed barn board backed stage, a concrete 300 pound Brown Bear mascot and a myriad of top notch musicians and entertainers every weekend. Expect the unexpected in music here and yummy bar eats, and prepare for an excellent night in a ‘living room’ you’ll make your own after your very first visit!
- Rob Gregorini