WESTFIELD-Holly and Colin Neylon, new owners of the Maple Leaf Pub on Arnold Street, are eager to share their new ideas with patrons – and in return – are seeking feedback on what customers like and would like to regularly see on the menu.
“We have a really great team,” said Holly Neylon, whose background is in accounting and human resources, and Colin is the owner of Industrial Technical Services. The couple live in Westfield and have been married five years.
“The previous owners, Missy LaPointe and Brian Slayton, had a 10-year plan,” said Holly Neylon. “The Maple Leaf has been on and off the market and they ended up at 12 years. When we started talking to them last January, we thought, why not?”
The Neylons made an official offer last February – at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic – and purchased the restaurant on Dec. 16.
“No one knew what the pandemic would turn into,” said Neylon, adding, “but we didn’t want to walk away from the restaurant since we knew business would turn around.”
At the height of the pandemic when businesses were shut down last spring, the couple were thankful that LaPointe and Slayton allowed them to make some interior changes, from new lighting and adding televisions, to upgrading tables and chairs, revamping the bar top, and replacing the flooring with a vinyl laminate.
“Brian and Missy were so good to us while they were closed down,” said Neylon, adding, “We enclosed the patio and are putting in heaters for extra space.”
Of course, the main attraction is the menu – and Neylon said they are eager to work with local farmers on purchasing seasonal produce, as well as collaborating with local breweries and wineries to add to their bar offerings.
“We are very excited about working with local businesses to source locally produced food, wine, and beer,” said Neylon.
Currently, Neylon said she features regional brews from the White Lion Brewing Company and the Berkshire Brewing Company, and welcomes other companies to contact her.
“We are interested in local brewers and vintners wanting to work with us,” she said.
Pub fare, under the direction of head chef Matt Crawford, will be kicked up a notch with an expanded menu that also includes a few specials each day. Crawford is assisted in the kitchen by Alan Royland.
“They are a great team,” said Neylon, noting the pub’s manager, Tommy Ray, meets weekly with Crawford to discuss specials and upcoming promotions.
Recent specials have ranged from pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, buffalo chicken flatbreads and a chicken parmesan dinner, to teriyaki Alfredo.
“Matt really likes trying different things and we back him up 100%,” said Neylon.
Other menu highlights include several salads – with an apple pecan salad in the works – as well as soups.
“We love soups,” said Neylon, noting patrons especially enjoy the signature cheeseburg and clam chowders offered in bread bowls. A chicken noodle soup is coming later this month, as well as a stuffed pepper soup.
“We are expanding our menu and will be having a lot of specials so we encourage people to tell us what they like and would like to see offered,” said Neylon.
For starters, Neylon noted the popularity of their house made chips, tortilla chips and nachos.
“Our French fries are hand cut,” she said, adding, “we go from the potato to French fries in-house.”
While desserts are a new offering, Neylon said they have started featuring Red Velvet Cake and Chocolate Cake and expect to add “twists” to dessert favorites in the coming months.
Menu items currently “trending” include flatbreads and Neylon said the steak burrito has been popular, as well as the grilled and fried chicken sandwiches.
“We will be offering more lunch size food including fish options and we just tried a fried fish basket and fish quesadilla,” she said.
On a side note, for persons who enjoy playing Keno, tickets are available and a Massachusetts Lottery scratch ticket machine is also offered.
For patrons who enjoy trivia, Electronic Trivia is also a popular attraction.
“We use an app so everyone can play a safer version of trivia,” said Neylon, noting there are first and second place winners.
“We have a lot of people who enjoy trivia night on Wednesdays,” she said, adding, “it is general knowledge so anyone can play. We start at 6:30 and it runs for 90 minutes.”
Maple Leaf Pub hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Sunday from 12 – 8 p.m.
For the latest news, menu specials and special promotions, visit the Maple Leaf Pub on Facebook. A website is currently under construction and is expected to be active by the end of January.
“We’ve enjoyed the atmosphere over the years here and it has always been a great place so we wanted to take that feeling and carry the torch from the previous owners,” said Neylon.
Neylon is also hopeful to feature local musicians in the coming months once COVID-19 protocols allow for performances, and musicians are encouraged to reach out to her for more details.
“We are eager to make our menu a bit more robust and expand our patron base,” said Neylon. “We appreciate all the support and look forward to continuing to provide the community with the same great food and service.”