Reviews

The Station 18 – Fire House Bar and Grill

The Station 18 – Fire House Bar and Grill in Capreol has an unassuming, non-descript strip mall exterior with great signage where it is conveniently located at 62-2 Dennie Street next door to Opy’s Central Variety. Open the door and you won’t get one step across the threshold before you are greeted by a hearty welcome with the warm embrace of genuine old-school hospitality.

The Fire House is popular in both summer and winter

The establishment features a full bar section to the left, complete with a pool table, and to the right of the doorway is the sit-down dining area with an entertainment space at the back. Once inside you won’t find a bar or restaurant that pays more attention to its theme in all of Sudbury—in fact in its enthusiasm it harkens back to the glory days of the original family owned Tecklenburg’s famous focus on all things fish including an outboard motor! The Fire House’s theme is nicely promoted throughout, with related décor and the appropriately fire engine red walls and tabletops. A black ceiling with yellow accent beams compliments the assortment of: fire fighting tools, hoses, antique fire extinguishers, fireman overall pants with suspenders, and a fireman’s shirt surrounded by fire station badges, adorning the walls, and in every nook and cranny of the place. There are fire fighter related posters and even a memorial photo of a restaurant on fire.

Not surprisingly The Fire House is indeed the labour of love of a “mom and pop” couple, owners Justin and Julie Seguin. And yes, he’s a fireman! Their restaurant has been open for three years. It has a very engaging Facebook page that features photos of their opening renovations, and year round special occasions featuring musical entertainment including karaoke. If you look closely there’s even a couple of photos of a celebrity guest. You’ll find posted photos of their full menu as well as mouth-watering shots of dishes of food. The Fire House offers take-out, dining in, and catering.

Our party of five enjoyed an early dinner one past Saturday afternoon, and the service was cheerful, friendly and attentive.

Our meal on this visit included garlic bread, one 3-piece and two orders of 2-piece Station 18 Fish and Chips, a Plain Jane burger with cheese, a small Canadian Poutine, three waters with lemon and two Diet Pepsis—including tax and tip it came to a reasonable $92.00.

The garlic bread was as advertised, toasted to perfection Portuguese bread—satisfyingly crusty on the outside, warm and soft on the inside…a garlic buttered delight. The Canadian Poutine—one of several different poutine options on the menu—came with fries, shredded mozzarella, and brown gravy. Sampled by our resident connoisseur, he stated, “The poutine was very good. The fries were crispy, the gravy had a rich flavour but didn’t overwhelm and they didn’t smother the dish with cheese—most places use way too much for my taste!” So the verdict on the poutine is that it has just the right ratio of gravy and cheese to potato.

The Fire House uses local “Pride of Azilda” Dan Poulin Potatoes, and this “secret ingredient” is part of the success of the fish and chips combos enjoyed by our party. The bedrock of great poutine and arguably the texture and taste compliment to batter-fried fish, but of course for some of us a good French Fry is simply the conduit for a generous seasoning of vinegar and/or ketchup! Served in baskets the traditional fish and chips come with in-house-made tartar sauce, if you are a fan, and the de rigeur flavourful grease cutting wonder lemon wedges. According to the menu The Station 18 hand beer battered fish is New Zealand Cod—tasty and mouth wateringly crispy!

Among our party of five was a picky gentleman who prefers to “taste the meat” and likes everything plain. He was delighted to see The Plain Jane Burger, patty and bun only, on offer on the menu. Unadorned save for the addition of cheese, the condiment-free burger did not disappoint. Its patty looked and tasted homemade and the bun was fresh. And it, like all the hamburgers at the Fire House, comes with a side of the afore-mentioned great fries.

Regrettably I’m unable to give you a taste-tested review of desserts due to the fact that the majority of our party members are diabetic and had maxed out on our high-glycemic carb load meal quotas. For those interested the Fire House’s menu has on offer two types of sweet-tooth enticements: Deep Fried Banana Wontons topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce available in three size portions, and Funnel Cake Poutines that come in two choices: Funnel Cake Smores Poutine “fries” topped with toasted marshmallow, chocolate chips and chocolate sauce, graham crumble and whipped cream, or Funnel Cake Campfire Poutine “fries” topped with graham crumble, whipped cream, caramel and icing sugar. You can also choose to have plainer Funnel Cake “fries” with caramel or chocolate sauce dip. Mmmmm!

Friendly and welcoming service, wonderful fire fighting themed ambience, good food and great company—our party of five had a blast! So much so that two of us from Garson returned the following Saturday evening for a second visit. En-route we were delayed by a 129-car train but hey its Capreol…and we knew the restaurant was worth the wait.

Again we were enthusiastically welcomed at the door. We explored the menu and decided, for our second meal at The Station 18 Fire House Bar and Grill, we would be brave and try something other than fish and chips and a burger. Our meal included garlic bread, onion rings, a small Caesar salad, 1lb of wings, and a personal pizza all washed down with Diet Pepsis with lemon.

The garlic bread was dependably just as good the second time around. The homemade onion rings were substantial with thick crispy breading served with the “Signature Fire House Mayo” which had a delightful dose of dill. They were wolfed down with gusto.

The classic small Caesar Salad had homemade crunchy croutons, a nicely garlicky dressing with just the right amount of shredded Parmesan cheese. The only thing lacking was the absence of a lemon wedge and bacon promised in the menu that left me with the feeling that the salad was a bit over-priced at $7.99 for its size but then again I didn’t mention the missing ingredients to the server who might have been able to rectify the oversight.

The pound of wings came with carrot and celery sticks and more of the wonderful house-dilled mayo. They were meaty and hand breaded, and there was just the right crispiness and generous mild BBQ sauce ratio—delicious!

We chose green peppers, mushrooms, and Kalamata olive toppings for our personal pizza. The crust was classic, the toppings generous, and with the sauce and cheese tasted great. The meal came to just under $56.00, tax and tip included, with enough leftover pizza to get a second doggie-bag meal for two in the bargain. (The leftover slices heated up nicely and were just good at home the next night!)

The Fire House sponsors many local events—including the popular ‘Mud Run’

Our meal was dive-bombed by a pesky fly but hey, it’s Northern Ontario—Mother Nature’s wildlife can’t always be avoided!

Would we recommend the Station 18 Fire House Bar and Grill to friends? Wholeheartedly yes! Will we visit it again? Yes! It is well worth the drive from Garson and maybe next time we’ll be able to time our visit to coincide with a special occasion when they will be featuring some live music entertainment.

AFTER WORD:
On behalf of our family members and friends who may be the frail elderly and/or disabled we need to be mindful about issues of accessibility. (The ‘frail elderly’ refers to seniors who may have balance issues or are too weak to manage stairs without the aid of a railing for example. Accessibility pertains to those disabled persons with mobility issues who use what is called assistive devices that may include: canes, crutches, prosthetic legs, walkers, portable wheelchairs, power wheelchairs or scooters.)

The Station 18 Fire House Bar and Grill is accessible, in that it has no obstruction such as a one inch lip or steps at the threshold of the main door, but the bar side is up a level—equivalent to about half a step—however, in place of a step they were considerate enough to ramp the flooring. Similarly the right hand dining side is about a half step lower than the entry way and the space is ramped with a metal threshold wedge but it is quite steep for disabled accessible independence. (You might be surprised to know that a one-inch rise requires a one-foot long ramp for the slope to be independently used safely by a scooter or wheelchair user.) A cane, crutches, or prosthetic leg user would be able to manage the differences in floor heights ok but a portable or power wheelchair user would need someone’s assistance to help from behind in boosting the wheelchair up over the metal-sloped rise. I am confident that the staff at the Station 18 Fire House Bar and Grill would offer assistance to a disabled guest if needed.

Accessibility isn’t only about entry to and getting around buildings, it also concerns washrooms! On my second visit I checked out the ladies room. The washrooms are at the back of the bar side of the restaurant. There is s slight hallway space in front of the washroom doors, which are propped open, but it might be a tight squeeze to manoeuvre a wheelchair independently to answer the call of nature. In the ladies room there are two standard sized toilet stalls which are not large enough to accommodate a wheelchair or scooter user who needs to have a wider stall door to get through and the floor space necessary to enter (and be able to shut the stall door for privacy) then transfer themselves onto a toilet—I doubt that a disabled person using a wheelchair would even be able to squeeze in close enough to reach the toilet to empty a catheter leg bag—and come on, The Fire House is a bar and, we all know beer is the drink you rent! (I’m blanking on whether or not either stall featured a grab bar on the wall to assist the frail elderly, or overly heavy weighted people, ease themselves down to sit on the toilet safely.) The ladies room also has a hand towel dispenser that is mounted too high on the wall to be reached independently by a wheelchair user—I’m blanking again at the moment on whether or not the sink is wheelchair accessible, meaning: is there space under the sink for knees in a wheelchair to fit for the person to be able to get in close enough to reach the sink taps and soap dispenser?

So overall the Fire House gets a passing grade on entry accessibility but fails in washroom accessibility—I didn’t peek in the men’s room but I suspect the same regular stall size issue, maybe there’s a urinal a guy in a wheelchair could aim for?

Rocky’s Restaurant

Just over twenty minutes. That’s how long a drive there is between my door and Rocky’s Restaurant and Marina. I timed the trip this past July and was surprised it didn’t take longer. Rocky’s is ‘technically’ located in Capreol but you can drive all over town without finding Loonway Road. Locals know the restaurant is out on the shores of scenic Lake Wahnapitae.

Wahnapitae’s famous ‘Sand Banks’ during local recording artist Larry Berio’s concert.

Don’t let the distance scare you. Twenty minutes seems like a long trip but the road north of Capreol is picturesque with lakes, rivers, and swamps—all providing enough iconic Canadian landscapes to distract from the travel time and the occasionally bumpy road. (Be advised part of the road is unpaved. That gravel stretch is also routinely graded and so not an obstacle provided you drive sensibly.) 

Outdoor view, from the boat launch.

Rocky’s sits on a beautiful spot, overlooking the biggest lake in our region, Lake Wahnapitae. Located on the Wahnapitae First Nation, traditional home of the Ojibway peoples, the restaurant is fairly large with a gorgeous outdoor deck and big windows on three sides, meaning it’s bright inside, and provides unobstructed access to the spectacular view. Staff is both friendly and welcoming—they even laughed at my bad jokes.

View of the patio (taken with panorama lens).

The place is immensely popular, both with locals and seasonal tourists (snowmobiles often fill the parking lot during winter while boaters stop by in warmer months). I visited twice in the space of two weeks this summer—first with a small party of four and then, two weeks later, with a much larger group of eleven—and enjoyed everything about my Rocky’s experience.

A popular spot.

Our earlier stop came early in the day—we arrived at 11:30am—and so three of our party decided on late breakfasts while our fourth went with an early lunch. Our orders arrived quickly and were, quite simply, huge. The $6.99 Two Egg Breakfast was too much food for me (two eggs, two toast, three pieces of bacon, hash-brown potatoes, and a slice of tomato) but the perfect amount for my one companion who chose the same as me. Another went with the Ham and Cheese Omelette ($9.99) and could only finish half. It too was a very healthy size, enough to satisfy a hearty appetite. But it was the lunch order that wowed us. The $13.99 Clubhouse was gigantic! It also came with a mountain of French fries. The biggest eater of the bunch proved unable to finish the sandwich and barely put a dent in the fries…even with some help. (We took a large doggie bag home and made another whole meal from the various leftovers.) Everything was delicious and we left wondering why we didn’t eat at Rocky’s more often.

Our second visit came with guests from out of town. They had eaten at Rocky’s several years before and wanted to go back. So back we went, this time at dinner. We arrived at 6pm and, even though the parking lot was packed, were seated without difficulty. 

Watch out for the lake monster!

The staff proved happy to rearrange the tables to our liking and tolerated our indecision with patient grace. Our party lingered indecisively over the menu but we never felt rushed. And, once we placed our order, the food arrived quickly. It was both hot and plentiful. My cousin and I split the Combo Platter (choosing Chicken Fingers, Onion Rings, and Pickle Spears to accompany the house Kettle Chips) and, despite receiving some help from our fellow dinner-mates, couldn’t finish it all. Several of our party ordered the Pickerel Strips and Chips ($19.99) and every one of them raved over their meal. Two had Hot Sandwiches (Hamburger and Turkey respectively, both $13.99)—the Hot Hamburger went to the most notoriously fickle eater and he didn’t complain…which is high praise in his book; the Hot Turkey earned several appreciative comments, the gravy earning particular note of praise. Another cousin of mine ordered the Chicken Quesadilla ($13.99) and thoroughly enjoyed the half she ate (the other half came home and became lunch the next day).

Pickerel strips. Someone ate the coleslaw!
Pickerel strips with gravy.
Rock Ness Burger—a special treat.

Rocky’s has plenty of glowing reviews. Word of mouth is one of its best sales tools and, should you swing by, you will no doubt be singing their praises too. 

M&R Grill

Best breakfast in town! That’s a claim many restaurants make. But ask anyone in Capreol they’re favourite breakfast place and, hands down, they’ll answer with one name: the M&R Grill.

Featuring small town prices and generous portions the M&R Grill’s meals are a rare treat. You can drive all over the so-called ‘Greater’ city and never match what’s available in our very own backyard—not in cost, not in size, and not in taste.

In many ways Capreol’s M&R Grill is a throwback to the glory days of small-town dining. The restaurant belongs to a more innocent time, before ‘home cooking’ became a dirty word, back when diner food was made by people you knew and who knew you.

Of course there’s more to the M&R Grill than just breakfast.

First there is the friendly and welcoming staff. Then there are the specials—patron’s eagerly await Carol marking the weekly specials on the big whiteboard—a delicious array of good, old-fashioned comfort foods. Soups and sandwiches dominate but there are plenty of stick-to-the-ribs favourites in there too—from pastas to casseroles and everything in between.

We’ve touched on the prices and portions already with breakfast but it’s important to note that customers get full value regardless of their order, be it lunch or supper, there is no stinting at the M&R Grill.

Did we mention the food is all homemade? It is. From mains to desserts—which are made fresh every day—everything is prepared in house. No store-bought burger patties or frozen fries thrown under a heat lamp here.

This week’s specials.
Hot Dog & Fries
Pulled Pork Sandwich
Chicken Wings & Potato Wedges
Fresh Baked Desserts—mmmmmm!
The Butter Tarts are to die for!
Dutch Apple Pie

Located downtown Capreol (7 Young St.) the M&R is central for most residents—many of who make a point to stop by every day. Those returning to town to visit relatives or for holidays also frequent the restaurant, it is a multi-generational staple in Capreol. Young, old, and everything in between enjoy dining at our town’s venerable hole in the wall diner.

A great corporate partner, the M&R Grill hosts an extremely popular Blueberry Pie Eating contest every year as part of Capreol Days. This year’s event runs August 3rd at 11am. Entry is just $10.00 and the winner receives half of the funds gathered (the other half will be donated to our local food bank). Plus they get to eat a whole blueberry pie—a scrumptious, if messy, prospect!

Those interested in competing need to register at the restaurant. Don’t hesitate. There are a limited number of pies and seats in the contest are in great demand.

So when next you’re in Capreol stop by the M&R Grill for–you know what, no. Don’t wait until the next time you come to town.

Do yourself a favour and make a special trip. It’s not that far.

Drive out to the M&R Grill and sample its menu, buy some desserts to take home, and marvel that this small town culinary secret has been hiding in Capreol for years. Only you won’t marvel, you’ll be too busy shovelling food into you mouth to talk. And then you’ll want to keep it secret too. A special treat you can savour all to yourself. Known only to a select few. Well, a few and the entirety of Capreol.

Cousin Vinny’s

Confession time. As great as the restaurants are in Capreol, and we’ve got some of the best around, I do occasionally eat outside of my hometown. Recently I ventured beyond Capreol’s cozy confines, all the way to Hanmer, and stopped for supper at Cousin Vinny’s Restaurant & Bar.

Located in the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre, Vinny’s specializes in Italian/Canadian cuisine. Generous portions at reasonable prices have been the restaurant’s hallmark since it opened. Serving up a large and diverse menu (visit their website—www.cousinvinnys.ca—to see its entirety), with all the usual pasta staples, not to mention a wide selection of familiar—and scrumptious—family-friendly food, it has been satisfying patrons since 2009 and shows no signs of slowing.

Cousin Vinny’s wins you over even before you set foot on the premises—its mall location means lots of parking. Inside the restaurant is surprisingly spacious, featuring a dining area to the left of the entrance, with rows of tables and a private room (available for parties and the like), a large bar dominates the centre, and booth seating to the right. There is also a fenced in patio located at the back, perfect for outdoor dining on either of our region’s annual two days of fair/bug-free weather. The variety of seating options are one of the things I like, there’s almost always an open table to be found. The serving staff is friendly and efficient—a good thing since the restaurant is often busy. In all my visits (well over 20 in the last few years) the only lengthy wait came on a Saturday night when the place was packed (they were hosting a year-end softball banquet or something). And even then my food arrived in a little more than forty minutes.

Some of the seating available at Cousin Vinny’s Hanmer location.
Vinny’s ‘Private’ room.

Be advised Cousin Vinny’s is a restaurant/sports bar—with all the pluses and minuses that entails. There are six beers on tap and sports-tuned TV’s on every wall. For hockey/ball/golf/etc. fans the memorabilia is fun. But it is the food that draws people.

Cousin Vinny’s new 2nd location (hosting an event—their regular seating is more comfortable and spacious!).
Another photo of Vinny’s new 2nd location—it is surprisingly roomy.

I ordered the Steak Cheddar Melt ($16.99), a new and untried menu item for me, and opted for salad as my side (upgraded to Caesar). My salad arrived in an eye-blink, a large plate heaped with delicious garlic-coated greenery. Despite my best efforts (and that of two of my tablemates) I couldn’t eat it all. Then the main course arrived. Hot and gooey, with cheddar oozing over the edges and big chunks of caramelized onions all baked together, it wasn’t the prettiest plate you’ve ever seen but it smelled delicious and tasted, if anything, even better. Once again the portion was generous. There was no shortage of steak in my steak melt. In fact tender meat overflowed the large and fresh panini bun. Cut thin and cooked to near-perfection the beef had the right amount of ‘chewiness’ that I look for. When dipped in the accompanying onion au jus dip the flavour exploded with each and every bite.

Steak and Shrimp—none of my party ordered this item (this time) but I have enjoyed it before and will again.

There were five of us dinning at Vinny’s that night; two of my party had pizzas, one had a hot hamburger, and the fourth went with an appetizer. None managed to finish everything, not even those with big appetites. Everyone raved about their meal—commenting both the size and quality.

Soup, Sandwich, Salad Special—delicious and filling (I split it with a friend once and both of us were full).

Four people shared the Battered Mushroom Caps ($9.99) and found them a tasty treat, especially once we let them cool a bit since they reached our table still piping hot from the oven. The personal pizzas were huge. I think they’ve grown since last I’ve been there because one easily satisfied a grown man. The Godfather Supremo ($9.49 for the Personal sized) was covered with layers of toppings—pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, smoky bacon, and Italian sausage. Silence reigned from that end of the table as the two pizza-eaters dove into their pies—only satisfied chewing told of their continued presence. The Hot Hamburger Sandwich ($14.00) came loaded with onions and slathered in a generous amount of gravy—the chef avoided ‘drowning’ the burger but provided enough for dipping. There were so many fries on the side that I ‘stole’ a few from my tablemate without much of a fight. I’ve sample this particular menu item before, upgrading it to a Hot Prime Rib Burger (for an additional $1.49) and thoroughly enjoyed it. The final plate for our group was another appetizer, the Philly Cheese Steak Flat Bread ($14.99). (It was Thursday night when we visited Cousin Vinny’s—and their nightly special was half-priced appetizers.) Featuring sautéed steak, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms on flat bread, all topped with melted mozzarella and drizzled with Vinny’s signature BBQ sauce. This dish was huge! Think pizza-sized. And was a repeat order too, we’d tried it last fall and found it to more than meet expectations. Chances are we will be having it again soon. The consensus around the table was that we’d all be happy to eat the same things next time.

One of Vinny’s many pasta entrees

The staff, on seeing I hadn’t finished, offered me a ‘doggy bag’ and I ended up eating the second half of my Cheddar Steak Melt the next day for lunch. That’s quite a deal, two meals for the price of one! In fact three of our party took home substantial leftovers (half a personal pizza and half an appetizer). One thing is certain, Vinny’s doesn’t stint.

The friendly serving staff (Chelmsford location)

For those who want to sample the amazing menu but can’t make it to Hanmer, good news! They deliver. (They also cater, host private parties, and offer a pick up option.) But there’s even better news. Chris, the owner, has opened a second location. You can find it in the Bonaventure Mall in Chelmsford (the space formerly held by Two Thumbs Up). So, when next you find yourself outside of Capreol and looking for a quality meal, give Cousin Vinny’s a try.

Entrance to Vinny’s new location (note the fenced off patios)

Peking Palace

Chinese food has a secret. No, it’s not the gag about being hungry again an hour later (that’s a real thing—not limited to Chinese food BTW—having to do with several physiological and psychological factors). The secret is this: much of what we in North America think of as “Chinese” food isn’t actually Chinese.

Most of the Chinese menu items we know and love were invented here on this continent. The earliest were created by Chinese immigrants from the Canton region (hence Cantonese cuisine) during the 1800s Gold Rush/Railroad Boom. Most of these were working me with no experience in cooking (that was traditionally women’s work). Cooking with little money and a lack of familiar ingredients from home they made up recipes on the fly and created their own new brand of ‘Chinese’ food. (‘Chop Suey’ apparently means ‘leftovers’ and was made, early on, from whatever was available.)

Immediate popularity was not their lot. Most Westerners looked at the food with suspicion. Hateful rumours as to the various ingredients were bandied about (and still are today in some places sadly).

It wasn’t until later—decades later—that another wave of immigrants brought the spicier taste of Szechuan cuisine to our shore. And most of these weren’t even Chinese! (For a period of more than sixty years the American government banned immigrants from China, not relenting until well into the 20th Century.) Most of these cooks were from other Asian cultures (Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, etc) and were all too happy to embrace the Chinese label if it meant success in America. Each region included subtle tastes of their homelands in their ‘Chinese’ cooking.

The history of ‘Chinese’ food is fascinating. Google it if you’re interested. Much as I’d love to get into the topic this webpage is named mycapreol.com and so, rather than get sidetracked, we’re going to focus on the town and one of its most popular dining options.

For those who don’t already know, Capreol has some of the best Chinese food in the region. One little hole-in-the-wall restaurant has been serving the town for decades: the Peking Palace. People drive from all over Greater Sudbury to sample its menu. And in forty-five years of living in Capreol I have never heard a bad word about the food there…never.

Cover of the Peking Palace menu

Yes the decor leaves a bit to the imagination—leaning heavily into the kitschy faux-Oriental style popular in the middle of the last century—and sure the building is a bit dimly lit. None of which matters once you walk inside. The cooking smells set your mouth to watering like one of Pavlov’s dogs. But just wait…because it all tastes even better.

I recently ordered some take out from the Peking Palace and was reminded, as always, just how good their food is. Nowhere else compares—not even the bigger Chinese places in the city. Trust me, I’ve tried several restaurants and none can match Capreol’s—not in quality and not in cost.

Fair warning: I am not the most daring of diners. Mostly I stick with my favourites. And at the Peking Palace that’s the tried and true ‘Combination E’—Egg Roll, Chicken Fried Rice, and Sweet & Sour Soo Guy—with an extra Egg Roll thrown in…because one simply doesn’t cut it.

My Egg Rolls were, as always, perfect. The shells shone golden brown, crunchy on the edges and soft in the middles, with all sorts of delicious goodness stuffed inside. Drizzled in sauce this simple Chinese staple is always the highlight of my meal. Of course the rest is good too. The Fried Rice manages that tricky balance—you know, the one homemade rice never gets—sticky but not too sticky, firm but not hard, filling but not overwhelming. Chicken isn’t my favourite meat (I’m more of a red meat man) but something happens to the fowl when made into Soo Guy. All the goodness is concentrated or something because I always go back for seconds (and sometimes thirds!) with the Sweet & Sour Soo Guy.

For the full Peking Palace menu go to their Facebook page.

Speaking of chicken, Capreol’s Chinese restaurant has one menu item that always causes hard feelings in my house: Jar Doo Chicken Wings. No matter how many we order it is not enough. There is always a mad scramble for the last one, with hard feelings for the losers and a smug, greasy smile from the winner. I’m no nutritionist but the Jar Doo Chicken Wings have to be bad for us—nothing that tasty can be healthy. Crispy, salty, and oozing with flavour these breaded miracles bring nothing but joy to all who eat them.

Beware the Jar Doo Chicken Wings—they are addictively tasty!

Fortune cookies may be the traditional end to most Chinese meals but I’ve never cared for them. (Mr. Christie is more my speed.) At the Peking Palace the fortune cookies come packaged so judging the restaurant on them feels a bit unfair. I don’t think any Chinese restaurant makes their own anymore. So instead of opening a cellophane wrapped snack, do what I do, and go back for another Jar Doo wing or two!

Give the Peking Palace a try. You won’t be disappointed. Their food is amazing. Just be sure to call early if ordering take out—like 2-3 hours early—because this little small town secret is a secret no more. Everyone knows Capreol’s got the best Chinese food around!

[And don’t let the fear mongering over MSGs keep you from enjoying your favourite dish. A lot of Chinese restaurants have cut back on their use of mono-sodium glutamate and the rest know the truth—that it was never bad for you in the first place. The media ran with the story based on a single, now-discredited, 1968 doctor’s report. (Yes, some people have ‘sensitivities’ to MSG but for the rest of us—well, we’d need to eat heroic amounts of Chinese food to feel any negative effects.)]

Located downtown Capreol the Peking Palace is a community institution. (Though I wish they’d bring back the ‘Fayeburgers’!

Crusty’s Pizza

Pizza is an iconic food in North America. The average citizen will eat six whole pizzas a year and the pizza industry is estimated to be worth more than $35 Billion a year (in the U.S. alone). That’s pretty impressive for a dish that, at the dawn of the 20th Century, was consumed almost exclusively by poor Italian immigrants. It wasn’t until U.S. soldiers returned home from duty in Italy during WW2 that pizza attained mainstream popularity, sparking a boom that is still being felt to this day.

Currently more North Americans identify pizza as their favourite meal than any other foodstuff—ranking it ahead of steak (#2) and chicken (#3). Pizza is served all across our continent, from mom & pop shops to high-end restaurants (where slices run into the hundreds of dollars and the single most expensive pizza cost $12,000!). School cafeterias routinely offer ‘Pizza Days’. Even hospitals are known to serve pizzas to patients, in hopes of providing a comforting slice of the familiar.

Stock Photo

Frozen pizzas are one of the best-selling prepackaged foods in modern grocery stores. Their ease and convenience more than making up for any shortcomings—and to be fair some of the freezer aisle’s newer options aren’t half bad.

Home delivery is one feature that sets pizza parlours apart. Long before arrival of online options, pimply-faced teens had perfected the art of home delivery. Who can forget waiting for “the pizza guy” to arrive? Or the first whiff upon opening the greasy box?

Delivery is, in fact, so popular that orders have come in (and been delivered to) from all over the world…and even beyond. With one chain managing to ship pizzas to the International Space Station.

Pizza in space!

For those of us residing in Capreol the #1 option for a quality slice is Crusty’s Pizza. Locally owned and run it has been supplying the town’s pizza cravings for years now. Offering a broad variety of mains (including: hamburgers, subs, sandwiches, panzerottis, and wings), a selection of tasty sides (fries, onion rings, garlic bread, salads, and more), and several specials a week—not to mention quick delivery—it’s no wonder the business has earned a devoted following.

Crusty’s Pizza Contact Information and Hours of Operation

I recently ordered a “Deluxe” (pepperoni, bacon, mushroom, onion & green pepper) pizza from Crusty’s and was reminded, once again, why the place is my ‘go-to’ for hot and fresh pizza pies.

Don’t let appearances fool you. This humble exterior hides gastronomic wonders.

Let me start by admitting, when it comes to pizzas, I have certain expectations: it must taste good, it must have plenty of toppings, and it must be hot. Crusty’s fulfills all three requirements…plus the prices are low (just an additional $2.00 for in town delivery).

A pizza from Crusty’s. Mmmm…good.

Far too many modern pizza places are cutting corners. It seems the bigger the name the more chance of them being stingy with the toppings! And don’t get me started on the sizes—reducing the overall size of a pizza is an unforgivable sin. I’ve never encountered either problem with Crusty’s. (One chain, who shall remain nameless, sells a medium barely larger that Crusty’s small!)

Our local pizzeria is, in fact, so generous with their ingredients that bits drop off when you bite a slice (at least they do when I eat, but then I’m a notorious slob!). There are no bacon “bits” or mystery toppings so small you have to guess what’s what. Crusty’s bacon comes in chunks. The mushrooms, onions, and green peppers were all big and colourful too—none of this bland grey vegetables too often found in nationwide retailers. And the pepperonis are always plentiful!

Look at all the toppings! Crusty’s doesn’t disappoint.

The dough is tasty, balancing on that edge between soft and chewy but never crossing the line. And the crust is both thick and firm while retaining a certain flaky lightness that makes eating the entire slice a pleasure. There is no throwing the uneaten crusts back into the box with these pies.

Not everyone is a fan of Crusty’s sauce. It tends toward the milder side. But that’s one of the things that appeals to me, the sauce doesn’t overwhelm the other flavours. I like a lot of sauce on my pizza and, once again, the local pizza shop impresses—covering the entire pie, right to the crust.

A “Meatball Panzerotti” from Crusty’s Pizza. I’ve tried one and they’re delicious—if a bit messy!

Everything at our local pizza shop is good—I’ve sample most of their impressive menu and enjoyed each and every bite—but there’s a reason it’s called Crusty’s Pizza. Give them a try.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.