Family Lunch Pick: The Fernwood Inn

Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup. Photos by Deanna Ladret

People begin arriving for the lunch rush around 11:45am, and Sarah Rouget seems to know every customer by name. One of the two managing partners of The Fernwood Inn, (there are ten partners in total) Sarah assists brother Michael Colwill in running the day-to-day. Her days are spent working the floor and ensuring everyone is enjoying themselves.

Partner and Assistant Manager Sarah Rouget

As she sits down for our chat, she announces that she’s expecting the newest baby in the Fernwood family clan this July – brother Michael married one of the Inn’s servers and Sarah married one of the regular customers. How’s that for a family restaurant? We are sitting at their Mother’s Table, a bright banquette next to the windows on the Gladstone Avenue side. Above us hangs a portrait of Michael and Sarah’s father, Roger Colwill, well-known community champion and the visionary behind the Inn’s new beginning. Five years ago, the two siblings and their business partners teamed up with Roger to purchase the building and transform the space into an updated, community-centred pub. Sadly, shortly after the Inn’s opening, Roger passed away. The self-dubbed Fernwood Community Liaison’s memory is honoured through the junior Colwills’ passionate dedication to the neighbourhood, including the annual Neighbours For Change Block Party, organized by Sarah each summer.


Polenta & Prawn Skillet

The Fernwood Inn is open for lunch and dinner daily, offering the same eclectic menu throughout day and, an additional Features page which changes every couple of weeks. Try a Polenta & Prawn Skillet, delivered sizzling to the table topped with gently wilting spinach and watercress, the popular Halibut Avocado Burger, or one of the inventive salads (butter roasted macadamia nuts? Sold). One of two daily soups is their staple Carrot Coconut & Ginger with a rabid fan base; the other a creation limited only by Chef James Wolfe‘s imagination. Speed is key, says Rouget, adding that a typical lunch can be had in under an hour from start to finish. That is, if you don’t decide to laze the rest of the afternoon away over Island-brewed pints on the Inn’s patio or tucked into a corner booth. In regards to sustainability, The Inn wouldn’t be Fernwood-approved without a dedicated composting program. In fact, they recently won a $35,000 Energy Fix Contest grant from BC Hydro, which they used to overhaul the building’s electrical systems to reduce hydro usage.


Children are welcomed with open arms and though they don’t have a kid’s menu, there are plenty of items to choose from that appeal to children. Besides the great food, the nicest aspect of this family-friendly Inn is that it still maintains the feeling of a neighbourhood pub: a place to sit and sip a pint with friends, take in some live music (Tuesday & Thursday nights), or shoot the breeze with your usual server – all without having to pay a babysitter.


Hours: Sunday & Monday 11:30am-10:00pm, Tuesday – Saturday 11:30am-12:00am.


The Fernwood Inn

1302 Gladstone Avenue

Victoria, BC

(250) 412-2001


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