When you walk into Buds on the Bay you immediately know you're going to want to come back. Built in the late 1800s as a private residence, the building that now houses Buds still retains many of its original features. The downstairs pub, with its wooden floors, exposed brick, and grand staircase is a cozy place to meet friends for a meal or a drink. The upstairs dining room, in contrast, is flooded with light from its many windows, making you feel like you're outside even when you're not. Regardless of where you choose to sit, you'll be made to feel welcome.
John Ackerman, who owns Buds with his wife Martha, will tell you that its the service that makes his restaurant unique. Now, he could tell you it's the great food made fresh when you order, or the 12 varieties of beer on tap, or the patio that seats 140, or any number of other selling points, but he doesn't."Our staff go the extra mile," says John. "We do our best to make sure that they receive proper training so they can do their job to the best of their ability." Not only does John bring in trainers to help his staff provide the best service possible, he even sends them away to training seminars. John also recognizes that Brockville is a destination for many French-speaking tourists and, especially in the summer, makes sure to have at least a few staff members who are able to provide top-quality service in both languages.
John is also very proud that Buds is one of the few independently owned restaurants around. "There are more and more chains coming in," he points out, "but we've been independently owned for 18 years." This longevity has helped to build Buds a reputation that brings people back time and time again. According to John, breakfast on their outdoor patio is especially popular. "We open at 7:30 [in the morning], and it's not uncommon on a beautiful morning for us to arrive to open up and find customers waiting at the door to get in." And who could blame them? Just step out onto the patio and you'll see for yourself that the view is unparalleled. Buds is also a popular destination for Mother's Day. At just $15.95 for a breakfast buffet that includes roast beef and turkey, it's not hard to understand why families make it a tradition. "Our Mother's Day buffet is extremely popular and we have people who come back year after year. We're already starting to take reservations and it typically sells out," says John with pride. Although you don't usually need reservations to get into Buds, Mother's Day is one time where you can't get in without them, so make sure to plan ahead.
The patio at Buds on the Bay is arguably the best spot in Brockville to sit and have a drink while you check out summer festivities like the Poker Run or the annual car show, but it's also a great place to enjoy the spring breezes or the fall sunshine. Close your eyes and imagine this: it's mid-May about eight in the evening, the sun is just going down, the birds are still chirping, and you just want to be outside. You're sitting at a table laughing and talking with friends while you drink an ice-cold imported beer or sip a frosty tropical drink. But wait. Where's your table? Well, if you're at Buds your table is outside on the heated patio. Thanks to the heaters mounted on the wall, Buds has one of the longest seasons in Brockville. Although the patio typically opens the first Friday in May and closes Thanksgiving weekend, depending on the weather it can be weeks earlier. But Buds isn't just a weekend destination. If you're wondering what to do on a Wednesday or Thursday night, make sure to drop by Buds to see what's going on. "We quite often have live entertainment on the patio during the summer, but the nights vary. It might be a Friday one week and a Wednesday the next," explains John.
Buds is a great Brockville destination whether you're looking for an early morning breakfast, a family dinner, or a late night drink. The food is good, the drinks are cold, the staff are friendly, and the atmosphere is great. What more could you ask for?