by Stephen Dafoe
The Station is a new restaurant venture for the Meunier family, opened in their former White Rose location on 107 Street in Morinville. The restaurant and bakery are open seven days a week offering a variety of home-cooked food and baked goods.
Matt Meunier said the family had been tossing the idea of doing something different for some time and came in contact with consultant Patricia Bullock through one of the business’ suppliers. Bullock and her husband are experts in the field of concept, planning and running restaurants. Bullock, a Le Cordon Bleu and Red Seal Chef, has worked in the restaurant and food publishing industry for many years. Her husband is a pastry chef, Red Seal Cook and journeyman baker. The couple and their team were brought in to help the family take their vision from idea to reality.
“We proposed something that was really bringing things back to basics,” Bullock said. “What we’re seeing is a lot of people in this area have young families, but there is a real mix – it’s a really broad community. So it was bringing things back to good farmhouse cooking, and a place where people can feel comfortable. It already has a real sense of community.”
Bullock said the farmhouse kitchen concept had been brought into the menu as well as the decor, including some original vintage wallpaper that they found in an antique store in Airdrie.
“We wanted it to be a place where people could feel just as comfortable sitting down in a business suit if they’re coming from work in the city, just got off the road crew, or a mom meeting their friends for coffee and a piece of pie,” Bullock said.
Meunier said the menu is broad enough that diners can find something they like. “We kind of went for that wider range, but also stuff that feels like it is cooked at home and makes you feel good,” he said. “It’s what we’re going for. So you’ll see perogies, you’ll see burgers and you’ll see some healthier options as well. It’s a nice range.”
Bullock adds that the menu has familiarity and variety, allowing customers to have their favourite dish, but also lots of choices if they feel like trying something new.
“As our kitchen staff get established, we’re going to allow their own interests to shine with some of the specials,” Bullock said, adding the focus will be on regionally sourced ingredients.
To that end, The Station is already using eggs and turkey from the Morinville Colony.
“It’s a little bit tricky when you are first starting out, but we really want to reach out to local producers. People do care about that.”
Another ingredient to the restaurant’s success will be doing things from scratch, including making their chicken broth from roasting their own chicken bones.
“It’s not something where it’s a bunch of powdered mixes; it’s real food. It’s what grandma made if you had one of those good grandmas who could cook.”
Baked goods a big part of plan
Diners at the Station will have the opportunity to enjoy home baked goods with their meal or to take back to the home or office. Not only will the items be available in the restaurant, but also through the Shell convenience store via Station Express branding.
“It’s coming back to that fresh-baked here, and some of our own favourite recipes coming into it,” Bullock said. “They can come in and grab some muffins to take to the office or a pie if you are going to somebody’s house for dinner.”
Whether breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, the staff of 14 are looking forward to seeing more guests new and old come in and try out the fare.
“What we are finding is the response has been very good so far,” Bullock noted. “Our breakfasts, which this restaurant has always been known for, are stronger than ever. We’ve been pleased to see that.
The Station is open Monday through Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m., Saturdays from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., and Sundays from 8 .m. until 9 p.m. On Sundays the Station runs a buffet brunch from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.