As I’ve mentioned in other places, I’m involved in several parishes. One of these parishes is St. Margaret’s. It’s a place where I serve, but also a parish that serves to refresh and renew me. My position at St. Margaret’s is one of an honourary assistant. This refers to non-salaried priest and deacons. St. Margaret’s gives their honourary assistants plenty of opportunities to engage in ministry and much support as well. Today, as part of that support they treated us to lunch at The Grove Pub & Restaurant.
The Grove is located on the corner of Stafford and Grosvenor, at the site where Tubby’s Pizza stood for many years. I’ve been passed The Grove many times, but both times when I”ve gone in, it has been very full, with waiting lists. One thing with being a single diner, I find wait lines hard to take. Today, fortunately there was a group and a reservation.
As I was heading there today, I stopped in at Thom Bargen. While chatting with the staff as they prepared my drink, I mentioned that I was headed to The Grove. My immediate concern was that they would drool into my beverage, as both servers gave The Grove a big thumbs up.
The restaurant area at The Grove is open, bright and fairly spacious. Despite having people sitting quite close to the table I was at, there was no feeling that we were being crowded in on, or eavesdropped.
I arrived early, and was joined shortly thereafter by Tony Harwood-Jones, a retired priest and another of the honourary assistants. I first got to know Tony when I was going through the ordination process. At times I found the process to be difficult and discouraging, but Tony was one of the people whose encouragement has brought me to the place I am today. He noticed I had a copy of Norman Wirzba’s [amazon_link id=”0521146240″ target=”_blank” ]Food and Faith[/amazon_link], and that lead to a discussion of what it meant to eat, and particularly how eating and death are so tied up. Despite the theme, the conversation was not that heavy. Also, if you come back when I finally get the book reviewed, the topic will make more sense.
The Grove Lunch
When the rest of the group arrived, we ordered our food and the conversation continued. The Grove offers a variety of classic pub food and other dishes that aren’t necessarily pub themed. I went for the Bangers and Mash. I like the herbed pork sausage on my dish and the mashed potatoes were light and fluffy. The onion jus was well flavoured, but I think I prefer a thicker gravy as the potatoes dissolved in the gravy a little too much for my liking.
There were eleven for the lunch.. A couple of people ordered the same thing, but there was a wide representation of the menu on display. Tony ordered the BLT and Will, one of the wardens, ordered the Chicken sandwich. Others ordered burgers, salads, pizza and one had the pie of the day.
The Grove is a mid-range restaurant as far as the prices go. However, the portion sizes are all very generous, and the food is really good. Considering the size of our group it’s a good commentary on a restaurant when all the plates are cleaned, or not finished because it was too much food.
I didn’t get the name of our server, but she did a tremendous job. The restaurant was quite full, yet she kept a watchful eye on our table. Coffee and water refills were offered multiple times. Plus, the service was done in such a way so as not to distract from all the conversations going on around the table. Thank you very much.
As I mentioned at the beginning, St. Margaret’s is a place that offer opportunity as well as support. Towards the lunch, the staff and wardens of St. Margaret’s offered us their words of thanks, and then gave us a chance to say what we appreciated about being at St. Margaret’s but also, how the church could help us out in our ministry in going forward. This was much appreciated. As was The Grove for being the kind of restaurant that allows such conversation to happen. The Grove should definitely go on your to try list if you haven’t already.