In 2017 Josh Perovic, the owner and the mind behind The Hemlock Barn, was working as a partner at a contracting company. He felt restless at his job, and knew something was missing from his life. He wanted something that would fill his soul, not crush it. He decided to take a year off work and used this time to go camping, rock climbing, and exploring local restaurants and breweries. It was in this year he knew he wanted to start a business, but wasn't sure which avenue to take. As he made his way through all the food and beverages the local businesses had to offer, he started thinking that perhaps starting a small restaurant would fill his soul. He had gone to culinary school in his early adult years and had also worked at several restaurants. He had often dreamed about starting a restaurant when he was younger, but unfortunately then it was out of his reach to fulfil that dream. This is when the journey to The Hemlock Barn began! It was time to live young Josh Perovic's dream of opening a restaurant. The first obstacle? What type of restaurant did he want to open? The first idea was hotdogs. They were fast, open to lots of creativity, and who doesn't like hotdogs?! He continued to explore and sample the local foods, and visited several spots with hotdogs. Books were read and many TV shows watched as he worked on engrossing himself into his new career. In this process he stumbled across a man named George Motz. George Motz is a burger scholar who has written several books on burgers, hosted a few shows, and also directed a movie! Josh decided to try making one of George Motz's burgers, and chose the Oklahoma Fried Onion Burger. Josh fell in love immediately. The special thing about this burger that drew him in? It was a smashed burger. There were so many places locally to get burgers, but no one was doing smashed burgers. Have a single patty burger for a mid-day snack, add a patty (or a few!), and it's a meal. There was room to be creative, support local farmers and businesses by using their high quality local ingredients. It was perfect. That was the day The Hemlock Street Burger Bar (well, the roots of it), was born.
The Hemlock Barn was founded in 2018 in a micro kitchen on Hemlock Street, called The Hemlock Street Burger Bar. Soon after that, a food truck for events and catering joined the family. A year later, we opened our new location The Hemlock Barn; where you are now! We have a passion for using local ingredients and making as much as we can in house. We are fast food, but we are also whole food. We built our brand off the smash burger, and were the first in the region to do these burgers! Being located near the St Jacob’s Market as well as many farms gives us the opportunity to source about 80% of our food locally. Our maple syrup is tapped in a bush located right behind this property, our potatoes come from a farm down the street, and our coffee is from Baden! The Hemlock Stable is the newest addition to our business (downstairs), and is partnering with several local breweries to bring you what we believe is the best beer in the area.
Our mission is to not only support local by buying local, but also by contributing to local shelters to support what we believe to be an overlooked population in the area. Every summer we organize a “Pay What You Are Able” event with all proceeds donated to OneRoof; a local homeless youth organization; a backpack drive in the fall, and dinners at Christmas! Amidst the uncertainty over the last few years, we are also proud to say that we are a living wage employer. We want to thank everyone who has supported us, and continues to support us as we make our dreams a reality!