New restaurant owner tells us why sometimes it all comes dow

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Kramer
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New restaurant owner tells us why sometimes it all comes dow

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Post by Kramer » Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:08 pm

New restaurant owner tells us why sometimes it all comes down to the gravy

Monday, January 19, 2015
Andrew Autio


Diners in the Timmins area who are seeking fresh, quality cuisine made with family pride have a new destination.



Located beside the Porcupine Mall, just off Highway 101 East, Kanellos’s Plaza Family Restaurant has been open since late November.

The owner and head chef, Kanellos Fountoukis, has spent nearly his entire life in the kitchen.

It is a craft he was born into, as his father was also a chef.



Fountoukis has owned restaurants all over Ontario, including several years in Chapleau, approximately 200km southwest of Timmins. 


Since the opening, he has been overwhelmed by the community support.

“I chose Porcupine because I found this location. Sometimes you’re lucky, like you win a lottery, that’s how I feel here, very good people who support us. We’re doing great. Not even in my dreams did I think we’d be doing this well. But we are always trying to get better and better” said Fountoukis.



The restaurant serves Canadian, Italian, and Greek cuisine.

Classics such as fish and chips, chicken parmesan, and grilled T-bone steaks are available, as well as breakfast items such as omelettes and an extensive appetizers menu.

“We make homemade gravy. Everything is homemade. We buy all of our meat from a local butcher. Every day we have different specials,” said Fountoukis.

The restaurant has been somewhat cautious in introducing Greek food to locals.

In many other Canadian cities, Greek restaurants are as common as coffee shops.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case in Timmins which often struggles to support restaurants serving ethnic fare.

If burgers and pizza aren’t on the menu, it can be a hard road.



“We don’t just have Greek food. There’s a lot of talk about people wanting more Greek dishes. We can put a lot more on the menu, but we have to see the interest. I don’t want to make food and throw it away. I want my food to be fresh. But we have been selling a lot of Souvlaki,” said Fountoukis.

Family restaurants cooking everything from scratch have become a rarity, with many patrons preferring standardized, convenience food.



“I’ve been back in Canada for six years, and I find things are a bit different now. There are too many franchises. You can’t find old fashioned food. I’ve cooked all my life. I’ve gone to school. I didn’t just stick with what my dad taught me. I went back to Greece and cooked in a Greek army school. In Europe, food moves fast. Every year you see new kinds of dishes, but homemade, not franchised,” he said.



Fountoukis points out a major disadvantage of eating at a chain.



“I went to a big name franchise restaurant, one that we have here in Timmins. I wanted to order a dish. I said ‘Can I have this, but please, not spicy?’ and he told me ‘No you cannot have it without spice because it’s already cooked.' I had just come back from Greece and I thought ‘What the hell is going on here? Pre-cooked food?” he said.

Fountoukis also has concerns that young people who have an interest in the culinary field may be discouraged by their experiences working at a chain restaurant.

It is an environment where bad habits can form quickly.



“Franchises have killed the cook. It’s very hard to find people. There’s a big difference between being a chef and a short-order cook. Anyone can reheat pre-made food. I want somebody who makes food from scratch. I’m hoping to teach somebody. They have to be eager and have to listen. Good food has to be cooked right. It’s a problem not just up here, but everywhere I’ve gone, including Montreal. Almost everywhere, the cooks are 50-60 years old. Young people don’t seem to want to cook, they don’t want to learn, but I can tell you it’s a very good field to get into. Everyone likes to eat,” he said.

It is the simple menu items such as gravy, which can often be the difference between a restaurant staying open and having its doors close, especially in Northern Ontario. Quality is paramount.

“Suppliers try to make lives easier for owners. You can buy two or three kinds of powder. You put it in water and it’s done in one minute. For good gravy, you have to use bones and vegetables. I’m making gravy right now that won’t be done for another 10 hours. You can’t make gravy in one hour. That’s what we’re doing here, trying to bring the old times back,” said Fountoukis.



Kanellos’s Plaza Family Restaurant is open Monday to Friday, from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Breakfast is available until 3 p.m. each day.

Large groups are encouraged to make reservations by calling (705) 235-2356.


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Kramer
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Re: New restaurant owner tells us why sometimes it all comes

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Post by Kramer » Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:09 pm

Review: had the breakfast about a month ago. Food was average. Nothing stood out.
Haven't been back for dinner or lunch.

Anyone have a dinner review?

JohnW

Re: New restaurant owner tells us why sometimes it all comes

#3

Post by JohnW » Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:31 pm

Overheard some folks talking last week, they seemed to have the same opinion as you.

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Re: New restaurant owner tells us why sometimes it all comes

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Post by Brashz » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:23 pm

I had lunch there last weekend. It was ok, just ok.

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