Supporting Local Business

The pandemic is playing havoc with local businesses. Oh, big business is hurting too—Covid-19 is affecting everyone—but most of those have the financial resources to bounce back. (Government somehow always bails out the large multi-nationals.) No, it is the local mom-and-pop stores and neighbourhood restaurants that are facing the direst straits. Now more than ever we need to remember these small, local businesses.

My house has made an attempt to be supportive. While we aren’t doing a lot of shopping at the moment, what little we’re doing is being confined (as much as possible) to Capreol. Never much for take-out, we’ve ordered more in the last two months than the entire previous year.

I like to think we’re helping. But the restaurant business was tough even before social distancing rules became the (temporary) norm—especially in Capreol. A lot of great places have come and gone in our town’s 100+ year history. Some thrived for decades before shuttering the doors, others never really took off, and a few have changed ownerships/names and just continued on serving delicious meals without missing a beat.

Right now, Capreol has several great restaurants, many of which are offering take-out or delivery. In alphabetical order we have: Crusty’s Pizza; The Firehouse Bar & Grill; the M & R Grill; Peking Palace; Rocky’s Restaurant (located on nearby Lake Wahnipitae); Subway; and Tim Horton’s. There’s also the Canadian Legion Branch #179 which offers a popular weekly Fish Fry, every Friday.

Rather than focus on those, several of which we’ve reviewed in the past, we want to take a moment and look at those dining establishments that are, sadly, no longer around. Great places whose food is missed.

How many of you reading this remember Chow’s Café? Long before Capreol’s much-beloved Peking Palace opened its doors the town had another popular Chinese restaurant. Other old-time eateries include: the Diamond Restaurant and Crazy Ray’s. The Riv (aka the Riviara Hotel) had a small dining area—or so I’ve been told. And the CN station offered a good-sized lunch counter that was frequented by railroaders on their break and regular citizens looking for a quick meal. 

More modern examples would be Capreol Bowl, which served as the town’s preeminent pizza place for years, and the Spike and Rail. The bowling alley, having gone through multiple owners, eventually closed its doors in the early 2000s and is now being used as storage space. Capreol’s second set of lanes (our original bowling alley was in the downtown YMCA basement) were ripped out and sold to become tables at the kitschy Sudbury restaurant/bar, Spacecraft. As for the Spike and Rail, it too went through changes over the years. Different names and themes have come and gone at the Dennie Street address. Today it is home to the Firehouse Bar & Grill.

Do you remember other places with fondness? If so, post in the comments. Reminisce with us about the good times and know that, despite our current difficulties, there are brighter days ahead. Memories just waiting to be made.

Posted on: May 10, 2020, by :