Things are really smokin’ at the corner of Main Street East and Hamilton Street in Hawkesbury.
That’s the location of Moonshine BBQ Smokehouse, the restaurant aiming to bring barbecue in its truest form to hungry carnivores of Hawkesbury and the surrounding area.
The passionate people behind this restaurant are not your typical restaurateurs. Fred Beaver, one of the partners in the business, is a plumber by trade who moved to Hawkesbury six years ago from Montréal. He went from soldering pipes to smoking meat after years of being a passionate barbecue enthusiast at home.
Partner David Szamosi still lives in Montréal. He is an electrician by trade and met Beaver on the job.
The two shared a love for barbecue and started cooking together. Beaver said Szamosi called him one day and said, “I think we need to open a restaurant.”
According to Beaver, his wife Karine Berthiaume said, “Okay Fred, you’re crazy,” when he decided to go into the restaurant business, but has been really supportive.
“Keep it simple,” with fresh, good food, and a small menu, is Beaver’s approach.
He acknowledged that the restaurant business is a risky one.
Kitchen manager Brian Blais is a former security guard who was heavily influenced by his grandmother’s cooking when growing up.
“Cooking’s a passion, a family tradition,” he said.
Moonshine serves all of the traditional barbecue dishes. There is beef brisket, beef and pork ribs, and pulled pork. Each slab of meat is cut and hand-selected, and 95 per cent of all of the food served at the restaurant is prepared in-house. Moonshine does not purchase frozen fries either.
Beaver said they have high standards about what they purchase to serve customers.
“If we don’t like a slab of meat, we send it back,” he said.
Chicken and burgers are also on the menu.
Side dishes available include macaroni and cheese, poutine, corn-on-the cob, beans, coleslaw, and cornbread—classic accompaniments to a good southern barbecue meal.
Beaver said he would like to see Hawkesbury become a bigger destination for dining, especially since so many people pass through the area.
“This could be the restaurant strip between Ottawa and Montréal,” he said.