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Rhythm & Brews launching dine-in restaurant this weekend

Cambridge brewery responds to customer demand to open a restaurant to complement its roster of beers and live music events

Months in the making, Rhythm & Brews Brewing Company owners Andrew Byer and his wife Monica Walewski have partnered with Chef Darnell Nevers Jr., owner of The Wandering Cajun event catering company, to open a full-service sit-down restaurant at their five-year-old Bishop Street micro-brewery and concert venue.

They're hosting a launch party this weekend. 

With a capacity of 150 people, Rhythm & Brews will have the space to comfortably seat their guests in the newly renovated dining room with Nevers Jr. in the kitchen preparing his Cajun inspired barbecue-style dishes.

Having travelled around the world, Nevers Jr. said he will be bringing a little bit of flavour from the various destinations he’s visited. 

“The base inspiration is Cajun, and I feel like there’s such an opening for that style of food in the GTA, Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge area and I want to see how this takes off.” 

Nevers Jr’s. said he's created a custom menu of recipes such as jambalaya, barbecued ribs, burgers and more homestyle cooking for guests to experience. 

Recipes will be exclusive to Rhythm & Brews, such as the Black Album Stout, a smoky mushroom cheddar sauce that will be used to top the burgers. 

“I incorporate dish names in the menu such as Mamma’s Cornbread and Pop’s Mac and Cheese to let people know that these are all somebody’s recipes from within my family or my own,” said Nevers Jr.  "There are seasonings being used that go back to ancestors in the slave days that have been passed down to my grandma and her grandma and I want to share that.”

The chef recently lost his grandmother and since he's not able to cook with her anymore, making food inspired by her is a way to feel closer to his family.

"I want to share what I learned and make new family here.” 

Apart from running his own catering business, Nevers Jr. currently works as an executive chef at Abe Erb at the Tannery District in downtown Kitchener. 

At the end of March, Nevers Jr. discovered the opportunity when his partner Victoria Groux informed him of a post from Rhythm & Brews seeking a back-of-house kitchen partnership on a Waterloo Region food group Facebook page.

An interview process took place with owners Andrew Byer and Monica Walewski who decided that Nevers Jr. was the best candidate for the role.

 “The kitchen partnership idea came from five years of customers asking for it, it’s just my wife and I that run this, it’s a challenge and we’re not a big corporation,” said Andrew Byer co-owner of Rhythm & Brews. "We must do one thing at a time, and we finally reached out to find someone such as Darnell that would be a great fit and we’re lucky enough to do that.” 

“Darnell’s Cajun style isn’t as typical around here, it’s such a perfect match for beer and live music.”

The launch party will continue post weekend for anyone who missed the opportunity to attend. From Monday onward, the menu will be available on third party delivery services such as SkipTheDishes, DoorDash and Uber Eats.

A pop-up menu of snacks and treats provided by The Wandering Cajun will be available at Rhythm & Brews leading up to the launch.