After many years working in the local food and beverage industry working for other people, Cassie MacKell decided it was time to work for herself and open her own restaurant.
“I’ve been in Collingwood working in the industry long enough to understand the demographic and the gaps in the marketplace, so I came up with the concept to open an Asian cocktail bar, the next thing I needed to do was find a business partner with the right skill sets to compliment my own. At three o’clock one morning I woke up with an epiphany to partner with Chef Jeff Beltran who I’ve known for years” explains Cassie.
“The next day I texted Jeff, we met, I explained the concept and Jeff was on board immediately. I think we’re really the perfect pairing. The next challenge was to find the perfect location. I knew we wanted to be in Collingwood Downtown, but just a little off the main street. We love being on Simcoe Street, all of our neighbours are people that are passionate about what they do. We have a lot of neighbours who are passionate about art and music and when you get a bunch of creative people together, a lot can happen. We all support each other…it’s pretty incredible” Cassie further explains.
Low Down Cocktail & Snack Bar opened the doors in September of 2019 and is located on Simcoe Street in the heart of the creative district in Collingwood Downtown and offers an Asian fusion menu with lots of snacks and shareables, entrée style bowls and fresh seasonal craft cocktails that are inspired by exotic and exciting travel experiences. “When my husband Jay and I are travelling, I get inspired by the vibe, the music, the food and I think ‘how can I create a cocktail that reminds me of this experience?’” notes Cassie.
Jeff, the son of first generation Philippine immigrants, grew up spending a lot of time in the kitchen whether it was helping to prepare for large family gatherings or because he wanted to put a little extra cash in his pocket while he was working an office job. His time in the kitchen was also partly necessity to feed himself while his parents were often working 16 hour days to support the family.
The menu for the restaurant was always designed to offer food that could travel well. Cassie and Jeff knew that because the original footprint of the restaurant would only accommodate 25 patrons inside, take-out would represent a large part of their business. “As soon as we opened the doors, we knew we immediately needed a bigger space and we feel very fortunate that we were able to expand Low Down to incorporate the space next door. Now we can have 40 people inside and additional 55 people in the patio” says Cassie.
Fun Fact: The décor at Low Down is influenced by an Asian street vibe with a modern, fresh twist. The neon sign “It was all a dream” is a lyric from a song by Rapper Christopher Wallace, a.k.a Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G. The new wall mural “Supadupafly” is a song title by Rap/Hip Hop Artist Missy Elliot and was painted by @blazeworks.
Looking for fun special events? Make sure you follow Low Down on Facebook www.facebook.com/lowdown.bar or Instagram www.instagram.com/lowdown.bar/ to stay tapped into what’s going on. As well as offering live music from time to time, they have become known as Collingwood’s Drag destination, offering a new show about every three months.
To check out their menu or order on-line, visit their website lowdownbar.ca/