“I didn’t want to be an Irish restaurant or a German restaurant or an English restaurant, all fairly common in the United States. I wanted to be able to do all that plus Belgian and Scottish and American and anything else that might come up by calling ourselves Olde World.” Scott Salmonsen opened Barley & Hops Olde World Family Tavern just over three years ago. A series of circumstances delayed his opening by nearly two years, thus opening months ahead of the recession instead of years. He’s not only managed to stay afloat, he’s seen business grow by about 20% a year.
Scott moved to the Temecula Valley from Concord, New Hampshire, so he lived in an environment of family taverns that were gathering places for friends and family. He built the business from the ground up, doing not only the design but also hand crafting the decorations, the barrel top tables, the bar top and the wainscoting. He used rough cut wood with the rough side out to give it a darker, more turn of the century feel. Scott’s imprint is on everything you see there. He and Executive Chef Eric Moore not only created the menu, they did all the graphics and design for it.
Scott’s gearing up for Oktoberfest, a month long celebration with a full German menu in addition to Barley & Hops extensive regular menu. Look for items like Spätzle, Sauerbraten, Schnitzel, German salads and sandwiches made on pretzel bread including a German burger. Chef Eric was working on a vegan sausage while I was there and it will be quite tasty. Look for 6 – 10 German beers on tap, including Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Reissdorf and Weihenstephaner, all month long, German music from open until close and a wait staff dressed in Lederhosen and St. Pauli Girl outfits. When Scott plans an event, there’s nothing done half way.
While October is their busiest month, the busiest day of the year at Barley & Hops is St. Patrick’s Day. Slow cooked tender corned beef and plenty of Irish beer meet hundreds of honorary Irish folk. In November they will have a 7.3 mile run from Robert Renzoni Vineyards to Barley & Hops with t-shirts, a beer and wine tasting and slider burgers for all the entrants.Every third Saturday of each month there’s a special 3rd Saturday event, including a pub crawl, hopfest and Christmas Beer Dinner.
Scott is passionate about beer, is a home brewer and loves to educate people about beer. He’ll talk with you about the history and tradition of beer, seasonal beers and beers that are brewed for special occasions. He recently opened a draft room that’s open nights, but the beers on tap there are available during the day, too. He relishes in the opportunity to introduce someone who’s accustomed to mass produced American beers to a more refined beer, from a light Stella Artois up to a hearty IPA. His mission is not to be “beers of the world”, but rather a more traditional family tavern offering tasty food and specializing in German, English, Belgian and American beers.
Locally he pours Black Market Brewing Company‘s beers from Temecula and points out that owner and master brewer Andrew Marshall just won a gold medal at the Great American Brew Festival in Colorado for his Rye IPA. It was Andrew’s first time entering the competition, the largest in the country and most prestigious in the world. He also points out Craft Brewery in Lake Elsinore and Lightning Brewery in Poway as excellent locally produced brews. Scott also has about twenty wines available, every one of them from the Temecula Valley, including Robert Renzoni, Leonesse, Briar Rose, Atwood Estate Vineyards and Oak Mountain.
The fare at Barley & Hops is hearty and tasty. I enjoyed an Irish Whiskey Steak, a small cut of sirloin with crumbled blue cheese and crispy onions served with mashed potatoes and gravy and sautéed vegetables. Chef Eric brought me a taste of one of the house specialties, the Fisherman’s Chowder, with scallops, shrimp, lobster, clams, potatoes and bacon. You’ll also find an array of burgers, fish & chips, mac -n- cheese, shepherd’s pie, homemade meatloaf and many other sandwiches, pizzas and entrées. Eric pointed out he is not only offering a vegan sausage during Oktoberfest, but will prepare vegan meals on request.
There’s a lot to like about Barley & Hops. There are daily beer specials, happy hour from 3 – 6 Monday through Friday, “Kick The Keg” Saturdays with $4 beers until the keg runs dry and Craft Draft Sundays with all craft beers on tap just $4 a glass. I like seeing success come to people who work hard for it. Scott says “we all wear several hats, I wear the most.” His hard work has paid off with an establishment that offers quality food and drink in a fun environment.
31045 Temecula Parkway – (951) 303-0333 – Open 11am – 2am Seven Days A Week