Holly and Colin Neylon had a vision for The Maple Leaf Pub when they purchased the restaurant in December of 2020. Although the couple had no previous restaurant experience, they loved the location and the building, which dates back to the 1800s.
The Neylons saw an opportunity to transform what had previously been primarily a college bar, into a family restaurant.
“We had a vision of what it could be,” Holly said. While the pub still maintains a steady bar business, the addition of more food offerings, and an updated kitchen, new floors and an updated bar top were also part of the pub’s transformation.
The couple also expanded The Maple Leaf’s outdoor dining capacity with the addition of a new outdoor patio, where they feature live music – the schedule is on their website. The pub’s existing deck, which can be booked for private parties, is enclosed and heated during colder months.
The Neylons retained some of the pub’s staff, including promoting a kitchen staff, and they brought in a manager from another area restaurant to help them get their operation up and running.
While the expanded menu includes many new offerings, Holly said it still offers customer favorites, such as Quesadillas, one of the restaurant’s best-selling items. Holly said customers are enjoying the transformation and sharing their suggestions for menu items.
“Some of our regulars have asked for specific wines and we’ve brought them in. We have monthly cocktail specials that staff and customers like to help create. They can explore their creativity there,” she added.
Customer suggestions often end up as weekly specials. For example, the smoked lime chipotle wings offered as a recent special were suggested by a regular customer.
“I like trying different specials, too, Holly said, because they are a lot of fun.”
Creativity is a key component of keeping the Maple Leaf Pub a family restaurant that everyone can enjoy.
“We never stop moving, never stop thinking of things to do. We’re always trying to brainstorm on what we can do to make ourselves better,” Holly said. “We’re thinking one day of building an outdoor bar on the patio. It’s a rumor, we’ll say now, but we are considering it.”
The Maple Leaf Pub
11 Arnold St., Westfield, MA