featured, Restaurants, Support Local

Harvest the fall flavours of Ontario’s Lake Country

November 4, 2015

The bounty of the fall harvest provided inspiration to the kitchen at Brewery Bay Food Co. They are one of many independently owned restaurants participating in the Harvest the Fall Flavours Festival that runs October 24 to November 8, 2015.

A locally grown or produced item is to be featured on the restaurants Harvest the Fall Flavours menu.

There is an abundance of seasonal produce for Chefs to choose from to create unique flavourful dishes for the farm to table lunch and dinners. Meals are presented as a fixed price set menu, with a variety of seasonal options for patrons to choose from. Shopping local is always encouraged, but during the festival many merchants are offering discounts when dining receipts are shown in the shops.

Find all the details and the full list of participating restaurants and stores here: http://flavoursoflakecountry.com/

At Brewery Bay Food Co. the pumpkin orange coloured menus were in keeping with the featured butternut squash and pumpkin menu items sourced from Hewitt’s Farms. With their Downtown Orillia location, this was a great place for me to explore the flavours! Ontario’s Lake Country certainly knows how to celebrate the season while supporting local.

I am pleased to write in support of this initiative, as it is a great fit, personally and professionally.

Brewery Bay

My photographer and I were warmly welcomed for dinner at Brewery Bay Food Co. The restaurant has been family run and welcoming families since 1993. There is a palpable sense of community here, of teamwork and friendship among the employees, of altruism and involvement,

I am eager to learn more.

 

 

As we perused the menu, I sipped on a jumbo size virgin Caesar spiced to my liking, as I had been specifically asked how I would like my drink, nice touch! The three course Flavours dinner menu is very reasonably priced at $20. While the two course Flavours lunch is priced at $10. A side plate allowed me to sample my dining companion’s choices.

_MG_9783-267x400The roasted butternut squash soup was very nicely seasoned, served with bread crisps for a contrasting crunch; the bites of beet and pecan salad I sampled were a flavourful mix._MG_9791-400x264

_MG_9779-267x364My main course was a pork chop with locally sourced apples for the chutney made in house. Accented with cranberries, rich with cloves and ginger; as Dwayne Desloges, Kitchen Manager, shared when I interviewed him, there were “layers of flavours” to this delicious accompaniment for the meat, and his special ingredient is “a little bit of love”. I was delighted to learn that the highlights of my dinner were both created by him!

 

 

My photographer greatly enjoyed her gourmet Mac & Cheese with roasted butternut squash, served home-style in a cast iron pan. She raved about the Pumpkin Crème Brulee made with Hewitt’s Farm pumpkins, while I choose the pecan butter tart, homemade by Quaker Oaks Farms in Seabright. The presentation was accentuated with a delicate cocoa design dusted on the plate.

_MG_9787-267x400My eye appreciates details. Once the dinner rush settled, Kitchen Manager Dwayne Desloges joined me. When I asked what message he would like to share with my readers he paused thoughtfully then said “It’s a tough job. People don’t know how much hard work it is, you make it fun, we all have fun, each and every one of us is a team and we try to make sure customers are happy. That doesn’t always happen, but 99% of the time we have satisfied customers! It’s not as easy as it looks to make everyone happy but we work hard”.

 

Carrot graphics border the regular menu. This denotes vegetarian items as the owners have kept a vegetarian lifestyle for over thirty years and raised their children in this manner. They provide numerous, clearly marked food options, with vegan and gluten free choices also available.

The restaurant is upbeat and family friendly, our server was gracious, and the background music as complementary as our dinner flavours. Brewery Bay Food Co. is fully wheelchair accessible; the women’s washroom had fresh flowers, appreciated considerate touches.

_MG_9797 copy-455x300A private event room is available for up to forty people; it is used for a multitude of community events; Simcoe County Writers, Streets Alive, Starry Nights, Book Clubs et al.

In conversation with Christine Marsh, she and her husband Steve Clarke are the owners of Brewery Bay Food Co., I learn that in an industry that traditionally has a high turnover, at Brewery Bay Food Co. longevity rules; there are three generations of one family with over twenty years service presently employed there.

From the front of house to the kitchen, the staff is a team, a close-knit family; they work together in an atmosphere of fun. I asked about community involvement, Christine Marsh shared there are many with great needs in Orillia; when individuals, families or organizations approach her, Brewery Bay Food Co. is an eager supporter. They hold frequent fundraising dinners and silent auctions at the restaurant with all money raised going directly to the charity. They donate the food, restaurant space and their staff donates their work hours.

I was awestruck at the phenomenal altruism. “It is a lot of work, but a fun night, overflowing with community spirit. I really get a kick from adding up the numbers to know how much money is made, it’s a lot of fun”, Christine stated.

Live music has been well supported at Brewery Bay too; I learnt that the first musician to perform at the restaurant twenty two years ago was Dan Swinimer, who is now a Writer, Producer, Engineer and Multi-Instrumentalist at ManicDown.com in Vancouver. His musical career was launched in Orillia.

Talk about support!

The Orillia Jazz festival finds a home at Brewery Bay Food Co. for their annual musical event.

It was a pleasure to experience dinner and conversation with the staff and owner of Brewery Bay Food Co. This local establishment personifies the qualities of the support local signature, in creating a work atmosphere that is pleasurable for the employees and provides value for the customers. The kitchen is encouraged to be creative with local ingredients and to dish out healthy wholesome food. As Christine Marsh summarizes “it is fun dining, not fine dining, truly comfortable, good service, good food, good times”.

Experience Brewery Bay Food Co.

See more at: http://www.ontarioslakecountry.com/article/harvest-fall-flavours#sthash.8lg96JOZ.dpuf

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