July 2013

The Stigma of the Hotel Restaurant

If you were bored… and I mean really bored (like, maybe I should clean out the cat litter on this hot day, bored…), and were to Google “Hotel Restaurant Stereotypes” you would find a slew of articles and reviews on café’s, diners, and bars that fall under the disappointing headline of “sadly living up to the stereotypes”. But why is it that hotel restaurants get this bad reputation? It seems to me that somewhere along the lines, maybe 3000 years ago, maybe earlier, some hotel had a really terrible restaurant attached to it and henceforth the rest of us hotel restaurants are forced to carry the burden of that bad experience.

Hillside Hotel... cera 3000 years ago.

Hillside Hotel… circa 3000 years ago.

But I say Nay! Nay!, no more – I am starting a revolt against the stereotype and I’m starting it with the Justamere Café and Bistro! We are proud to be attached to the Claymore Inn and Suites, and refuse to fall victim to any stereotypes associated with our location. Just like we shouldn’t judge people by their appearance, or books by their covers, we also shouldn’t judge restaurants by their proximity to hotels… and I’ll tell you why…

1. Team work: In any “normal” restaurant what you see is what you get. However, in a restaurant attached to a hotel there is so much more going on behind the scenes. Not only do we have a wonderful staff in the dining room and kitchen, there is also a supportive and hardworking staff attached to us through the Claymore Inn and Suites. Behind our kitchen doors there is a network of people working together to not only make sure that you have a fantastic experience inside the restaurant, but that you also have a wonderful experience inside the hotel. The bathrooms and hallways and meeting rooms are always kept up with, and the front desk can help you with anything you need. The Justamere is really only the tip of the hospitality iceberg when it comes to dining with us!

Hospitality Iceberg

Hospitality Iceberg

2. The Pool and Hot Tub: Yeah that’s right, our restaurant is attached to a pool… You eat too many fries, or you regret that second Panko Breaded Fish Burger then just take a trip for a dip and head down the hall to the pool… but just remember to wait 30 minutes. The Justamere Cafe is not responsible for any cramping that occurs while swimming.

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3. Greater Customer Feedback: Not only can the Justamere Cafe and Bistro hear feedback from their own webpage, Facebook or Tripadvisor… we also get to hear feed back from the hotel and their own affiliated sites. We are constantly checking reviews and comments on both our webpages and the Claymore’s… the more feedback we have, the better we can make your experience!

tripadvisor-logo

4. Diverse Guests: One of my favourite things about being attached to the Claymore Inn and Suites is the diverse clientele that we get coming in from the hotel every day! We see everything from church choir groups to motor cycle groups decked in leather. No day is ever boring, and if you come to eat with us you could be dining with people from all over the world! We always love to ask our diners where they’re coming from and what brought them all the way from Europe, the States, or even just New Glasgow to dine with us or to stay at the hotel.

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5. Word of mouth: It took me quite a while to think of this one, but it more or less encompasses all of the previous points. If someone has a positive experience in our restaurant, or inside the Claymore Inn, then word spreads and a reputation is born. Our reputation is contingent on the hotel, and the hotel’s is partially contingent on us. Together we support each other. When guests are pleased they return, when locals are pleased they send new guests. Being a hotel restaurant isn’t a negative at all, contrary to what the internet tells me… it’s a wonderful thing.

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Even Judy gets it!

Like I said, the Justamere is only the tip of the hospitality iceberg (should I include another picture of the iceberg, or do you think we all get it?)… and the iceberg can’t stay afloat without a strong and solid base. Don’t get me wrong, the Justamere is independent and self sufficient, but we wouldn’t be as strong or as stable as we are without the hotel. We wouldn’t have as much customer feedback which makes it easier for us to serve you, and we wouldn’t have the feeling of community and support that exists throughout the whole hotel between our employees and theirs… oh yeah, and we wouldn’t have that sweet hot tub.

Breaking up is Hard to do… The Chelsey Edition :(

Chelseyheart

** For full affect read this post with Sarah McLaughlin’s “I Will Remember You” playing in the background**

Yesterday was a sad day at the Justamere Cafe and Bistro… we all had to say goodbye to Chelsey Pellerin before she begins her great adventure out west! Now typically in the restaurant industry there is a high turn around with staff, so cooks and servers come and go without the chance to ever really get to know them. This wasn’t the case with Chelsey though, she put up with us for a really long time… and we’re so thankful she did!

So yesterday after we all said our good byes and Carrie stopped crying <3, I pulled Chelsey into my office for a farewell interview. I figured since our staff have all been lucky enough to get to know Ms. Pellerin, then you fine folks should get one last chance to learn about the lady we love as well!

What will you miss most about working at the Justamere Cafe and Bistro?
Without even a seconds thought, Chelsey said “Carrie!… wait I shouldn’t say that, I’ll miss everyone,… but mostly Carrie” 

ChelseyCarrie

What did you learn while you were working at the Justamere?
“I learned about stress management…. and how much I hate maple syrup”
(FYI: Maple syrup is a devils liquid… created for the sole purpose of slowing servers down..)

What were your favourite days here?
“My favourite days were always the mornings and afternoons following grad weekend, or highland games – when the town clears out and you can catch your breath”

chelseymarkryan

What was your favourite thing to do after work?
“Go home, take my shoes off and pour myself a big bowl of wine”
(FYI: The Justamere cafe and Bistro lmtd. takes no responsibility for any drinking problems that Chelsey may or may not have developed while working in our establishment… the girl just works hard and needs to relax with an oversized vessel of wine)

chelseyandthegirls

Funniest moment at the Justamere?
“Pita chip story”
(This one’s a little difficult to explain, and you may have to ask Chelsey to tell the story herself… but lets just say it involves a handsome man, Chelsey, and a dropped pita chip that was picked up at the right moment and from the perfect angle… )

chelseyallie

What you’ll miss most about Antigonish?
Almost as immediately as she answered the first questions, Chelsey answered “The water!” and then followed with a laugh “Yeahhhh not my family…, the water…”

What food will you miss most off the Justamere menu?
“The Chipotle Burger”

Justamere_168

Oh snap, Girl, how you stay so skinny??

Have you ever stolen a pen from work?
“I have a biiigggg pile of pens at home that are definitely not mine… they could fill a bucket.”
(FYI: Chelsey will not receive her last pay cheque due to this… while we appreciate her honesty, this is quite unfortunate for her…) 

chelseycarrieeileenjill

Just look at those beady, pen stealing eyes

If you could change one thing about your time here, what would it be?
“I wish I had another arm…”
(If Chelsey had 3 arms I highly doubt she would spend her time waitressing, she would likely be travelling the rails with the circus… and who’s to say that that other arm would even come out of a useful place?? It may be a total waste of an arm… If it was my 3rd arm I would likely use it to eat faster and more efficiently, but sure Chelsey, if you want to use it to be a better server you go right ahead…. pfftt)

Biggest pet peeve here while working here?
“In the summer when you’re sweating bullets and someone asks if you could turn down the a/c because “it’s freezing in here” and we have to smile and say sure….”

chelseymatteileen

And finally, I asked Chelsey, Are you scared to move out west?
Now, a little bit faster than she said she’d miss Carrie and a lot faster than she said she’d miss syrup, she said “Yes, I’m terrified”. 

Now this moment seems a little sad, I know (especially if you put on “I will remember you” like I told you to!), but it’s really not… It’s not at all actually. Because like I said earlier, I’ve gotten to know Chelsey quite well over the last few years, and I know something she doesn’t know. I know that she’s one of the hardest working and most intelligent women I’ve ever met. I know, and so does everyone else who has had the pleasure to work with her here, that she’s going to be just fine. And if, by some strange chance she misses Carrie too much, or her momma, or the water… or she just plain hates it out there, then she’ll always have a job back here.

 chelseyjill

Models Among Us

menu tasting - group

What an amazing sight indeed! A restaurant full of our closest family and friends – all there to support our efforts at creating a new menu…. either that or they were there for the free food. But for the sake of the story, lets assume that they were giving of their time freely for the cause! Not to mention, flattery will get you a long way, and we were in need of some of our most attractive fans and clientele to photograph! And jeeze, who knew we had so many attractive friends!

menu tasting - gang

It was a classy night, with classy folks, and Chef Mark Curry had a delicious menu in store for his family and friends. The premise of the evening was to have people sample new menu items while capturing some candid dining room shots!

Our models did not disappoint! 


menu tasting - paulacarrietyler

Our guests enjoyed a sampling of bisque, appetizers and entrees!


menu tasting - alliekateryan

Eileen and I were even able to serve the waitstaff for a change, so they could relax and enjoy the food and drinks that they so often serve to others! 


menu tasting - applauding

The highlight of the evening, besides the food of course, was when Mark came out and received a standing ovation from everyone in the dining room! Eileen and I got a little choked up, we were so proud! So needless to say, the menu tasting was a success and with the helpful comments from everyone who partook in the evening, the Justamere Cafe and Bistro will be coming out with some new and exciting menu items for the summer!