The Trend at Traill College has existed since Trent University’s year one in 1967. The cafe/pub has changed hands many times since then—the current instantiation of the establishment is a dream of life-and-business partners Bonnie Kubica (Executive Chef) and Simon Terry (Bar Manager). These self proclaimed “Hippy Capitalist[s]” want to focus the Gastro Pub (a pub with an emphasis on food) on fresh, local ingredients and atmosphere. The Trend is an anomaly when it comes to Trent’s food services because it is on an entirely separate contract from the one on Symons campus. The food is comfortable and creative as well. The decor sets a very scholarly mood and Simon has a particular vision for the space as a bar. The Trend is open from 8am-8pm on weekdays and will stay open much later on weekends.
Kawartha Dairy cream for Lindsay’s own MountainView Coffee and farmer’s market produce make the food here meals. The “Hippy Capitalist” business ethic makes the Gastro Pub a home. Bonnie is a graduate of the Stratford Chef School (before the Food Network’s ‘Top Chef’ was ever filmed there), the proprietor of BE Catering and received an award from the Chamber of Commerce for local focus. For Simon, local focus means forming good relationships with people, whether they are suppliers, contractors, neighbours, or customers. Behind the new-daily menu is Amanda Harrison; she creates the menu and Bonnie makes it happen.The two found out about the RFP (request for proposal) process through musk melon farmer and Principal of Traill College, Doug Evans. It is through Traill College that the contracting of the food service at The Trend happens. By allowing Traill College to select their own food service, Trent has allowed Traill to let their food services reflect their college’s values. One of those values: locally owned, locally operated with local food, a fusion of the Trent and Peterborough communities.
I was quite glad to sample the fare and talk beer with Simon. The nachos had a fresh, crisp salsa that accented the secret sauce very well. The vegan chili was so much more than red kidney beans and a can of tomatoes, in fact, there were no kidney beans at all. The variety of textures and flavours made it interesting to the last quick gulp; “tastes like more than it already is.” It is unique, comforting food in a cozy space. To keep up the quality of the ingredients and the price ($1-$5 for a snack, $5-$10 for a meal), Simon cites portion control as a way of sustaining what they are currently offering.
The beer selection is what Simon calls “The Ontario All-Stars,” which includes Creemore, Steamwhistle, and on tap, Campbellford’s own Churchkey Brewery. He prefers quality over variety so that the beer stays fresh and cold. Simon has managed bar before but is looking forward to filling the hall at The Trend with music. A DJ himself, another of Simon’s dreams is to remotely broadcast his DJ set called ‘The Warmup’ from The Trend on 92.7FM via the facilities of CFFF. Local bands and Trent bands are on the horizon for Simon as well, a fan of many local DJ’s as well as the band No Pussyfooting. As it turns, out he would love to see The Diplomats do a reunion show at The Trend.
The Trent Rowing Club donated a beautiful vintage rowboat that can be seen on the wall above the stacks of books in the sun-drenched, largely windowed section of the Pub. Mason jars hold beautiful arrangements of flowers on the tables and there is a bar for local and student publications. This serious but not solemn scholarly space, “a culture pub,” is available free of charge to student groups. Just one of the ways they want to give back to the University. “It’s not your typical business,” says Terry. The Trend at Traill College has new owners and operators but is a well standing Trent tradition and a fine example of a college-run food service contract.
You can follow them on Twitter, @BE_at_the_trend, or stop by weekdays 8am-8pm and late on weekends.