Fashioned Fun At Canterbury Ales
By Andrea & Sara/ email@example.com
Billy Hoest knows what people like. Hoest,
publican — and owner — of Huntington village eatery
Canterbury Ales, knows that good food, good drinks, and a
smile will keep diners happy. He also knows that when you
throw in a few good deals and an endearingly quirky atmosphere,
you have what most restaurateurs can only dream about; you
have more than a restaurant, you have a landmark.
Located on the east side of New York Avenue
just north of Main Street, Canterbury Ales is surrounded by
other well known restaurants. But Hoest — who was employed
by the original owners first as a doorman and then as a bartender
— runs his operation in ways that some could see as
To begin with, despite the 20 beers on tap
and the 40 available in bottles, Canterbury Ales is a family
joint. Last call is before midnight and Hoest does not hesitate
to cut off the flow of beer when a guest has clearly had one
too many. Secondly, he has taken to offering a lunch menu
Monday through Wednesday that feature pricing from the 1970s
when the restaurant was first established. In some cases that
means that a meal like the Prime Rib Sandwich is available
on the ’70s menu for $5.95 through August. The regular
price is $17.99.
“We are 85 percent table service…on
Friday and Saturday nights, during our busiest time I’ll
often run out of high chairs. Its modeled after what you see
in England and Scotland… families going out and socializing
together,” Hoest said, adding that he ended the late
night hours after he himself became a parent. “We are
family oriented, more restaurant than bar…we were definitely
the first place to start shutting down earlier. We just decided
that we didn’t need that element.”
The menu’s most popular items such
as Fish ’n Chips ($13.99) and one of our favorites,
the Shepherd’s Pie ($18.99), are certainly not for the
diet conscious, but Hoest has found a way to cater to his
customers who might want something lighter. Tito—Whom
Hoest refers to as his “main salad guy” —
is charged with incorporating season-appropriate salads on
On the night we visited, Tito premiered the
Summer Watermelon Salad ($12.99) on the specials menu. It
features juicy chunks of watermelon that complement sliced
almonds, feta cheese, and bright red tomatoes unexpectedly
well. All are tossed with virgin olive oil and served atop
a bed of mixed greens.
The rest of our meal (an unusually extensive
one because we just couldn’t resist some of the very
interesting menu items) consisted of more traditional items.
After Hoest explained that, like wine, beer often complements
a meal deliciously, we decided to take advantage of the vast
beer menu. For appetizers we selected the Angels On Horseback
($9.99), a group of oysters wrapped in bacon and broiled in
a flavorful combination of garlic, butter, sherry, and herbs;
the Scotch Egg ($5.99), a traditional item that pairs hard-boiled
eggs with pork sausage; and Baked Clams Canterbury ($9.99).
Like the other two items, the Baked Clams Canterbury also
incorporates a British tradition as it is served on a platter
Our appetizers were accompanied by a half-pint
glass of the establishment’s new house ale, appropriately
called Canterbury Ale. Though we are both familiar with the
taste of beer, we were both surprised by the nuances that
we noticed; it was served chilly but not ice cold, and a sweet
almost-caramel flavor peeked through the strong flavor of
Though we did have a third foodie in tow,
we did not actually need five entrees. Sara ordered the quintessential
British Bangers and Mash ($9.99), and Andrea ordered the also
classic Shepherd’s Pie ($18.99), which was one of our
favorites. Whipped, buttery potatoes topped a generous serving
of chunky pieces of tender leg of lamb and it was all saturated
with a deep brown sauce; a bite of the Shepherd’s Pie
is enough to warrant a return trip to Canterbury Ales. Our
third ordered the English Brown Stew ($17.99) and it turned
out to be another favorite. Like most people, we all love
our own mother’s beef stew and frequently avoid it on
the menu for that reason: no one can match Mom’s.
We were proved wrong. Chef Oscar bathes cubed
beef that literally seems to melt in your mouth, and a hearty
serving of fresh peas, carrots, potatoes, celery, and onions,
with a luxurious brown gravy sauce. It is nothing short of
a stroke of genius that Chef Oscar adds a few pieces of crusty
bread to the plate to soak up the leftover gravy.
By consensus, we also ordered the Beef Medallions
ala Portobello ($19.99) off the specials menu. We ordered
it grilled medium and the succulent meat absorbed the woodsy
flavor of the Portobello mushroom wine sauce admirably.
Our feast was enhanced with a couple more
half-pints. I chose to sip on the Woodpecker Cider, a hard
apple cider that drinks like a bubbly glass of apple cider
with a warming bite, and Sara indulged in the Southampton
IPA (India Pale Ale) that was most memorable for its robust
tang of hops.
We were stuffed, but were nonetheless powerless
to resist the desert menu that features items perfected by
Marianne Bisson, a manager who has been there for 28 years.
We selected the Bisson Brownie ($5.99), Marianne’s Raspberry
Fudge Brownie ($5.99), and Marianne’s Chocolate Malt
Mousse Pie ($5.99)—one of Hoest’s new favorites.
We enjoyed them all but the overwhelming favorite was the
peanut-buttery Bisson Brownie.
There is another reason why Canterbury Ales
is a matter of pride for so many Huntingtonians. Hoest’s
late father Bill created the The Lockhorns, and framed installments
of the comic series adorn the walls. Those that reference
Billy the Bartender or in which Loretta and Leroy visit Canterbury
Ales are given special prominence.
Hoest and the staff greeted many of the guests
who walked into Canterbury Ales by their first name. Frequent
visitor Rob Ackley — who Hoest had not met before —
introduced himself and said, with a serious face and a pronounced
southern accent, “This is the best restaurant in Huntington.
It’s why I moved to Huntington.”
Though he beamed and chatted with Ackley
about topics ranging from the beer selection to beef jerky,
Hoest remained humble. “I’m very proud of my staff,
they made this place what it is It makes me very proud to
be the owner of a place like this, especially because of our
relationship with the customers,” he said.
Like Ackley, we Foodies cannot resist the
lure of Canterbury Ales.
314 New York Avenue
Cuisine: Pub Fare with accommodations
for the Salad Set
Atmosphere: Old English
Pub, cozy and inviting
Price: Inexpensive to Moderate
11:30 am - 11:30 pm
Friday & Saturday , 11:30 am - 12:30
Sunday, noon-10 pm