Morinville gains international chef

Restaurateur and chef Don Bom Buwala serves a table of lunchtime diners in his new establishment on 100 Ave. The chef brings 25 years experience to Don’s Bar & Bistro, now open in the former Sheldon’s Fine Dining location on 100 Ave.

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – A new restaurateur has come to town, bringing with him a quarter century of experience as a chef. Don Bom Buwala recently opened Don’s Bar & Bistro in the former Sheldon’s Fine Dining location on 100 Ave. and said he is looking forward to serving his fare to Morinville diners, particularly his specialties – French cuisine, steak and seafood.

Bom Buwala, originally from Sri Lanka, has spent the past 25 years as a chef and restaurant manager, training in Switzerland, then working in Germany, England and Bermuda, plying his trade in the latter location for 18 years. While in Bermuda, Bom Buwala opened eight restaurants as a corporate chef and manager, but since moving to Canada he’s wanted to open his own establishment.

“I was looking for the last three years for a little restaurant for me to open up by myself, but I didn’t find anything,” Bom Buwala said, noting that he recently saw an advertisement for an opportunity in Morinville, a town he was not at the time familiar with but is happy to have found.

A new sign marks a new name, new owner and big changes at a 100 Ave. restaurant.

Bom Buwala said he fell in love with the restaurant as soon as he saw it, the establishment’s nautical décor reminding him of Bermuda where he dove for his own lobster. But there was more to his decision than the décor. The chef said Sheldon already had part of his name, jokingly noting that all he had to do was remove the ‘shel’ portion – the don was already there.

But Bom Buwala has more changes in mind than just the name. The restaurateur is currently working on his menu to bring forth from his kitchen a selection of foods that will appeal to and please Morinville and area diners’ taste buds and cultural heritage.

The chef said he was taught by an aboriginal colleague how to make authentic bannock, something he plans to add to his menu along with other Canadian and international dishes.

“I want to add a nice pizza, gourmet pizza, and also nice pasta dishes,” Bom Buwala said, adding that whatever is on the menu, he plans to provide his diners with unique, reasonably-priced food made of fresh ingredients. The chef even makes his own mayonnaise.

But along with changing the menu, the Bom Buwala has changed the hours of operation, drastically.

“When I come, it didn’t make sense,” Bom Buwala said of the restaurant’s original hours. “Sundays closed, Saturday morning closed and Monday evening closed. It’s like customers are confused.”

Don’s Bar & Bistro is open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. until 10 p.m., serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Bom Buwala said he hopes that Morinville residents will be pleased with the changes he is making to serve them and believes that his business will continue to grow by word of mouth.

“They come back two and three times,” Bom Buwala said. “And when they come, I’ll serve the food and I’ll make them happy. That’s the best way to go up, I think.”

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  1. Welcome to Bom Buwala, and what a welcome addition to Morinville Don’s Bar & Bistro will be. My friends, co-workers and i look forward to exploring the menu, the extended hours will be a great opportunity for us to do just that. Thank you to the for sharing the word on this, in spite of its proximity i have no idea when i would have noticed on my own, and missed some delicious opportunities.

  2. I work with Don at the Bistro, can you please e-mail me a copy of the story and picture so we can place it at the Bistro for our customers to see.

    Thank you
    Ruba Al qishawi

  3. WOW! Is all I can say about the food and the service! The best seafood meal I have had in a long time. What a wonderful atmosphere and the best and most professional service you could want. The food is fresh and the flavors are spectacular. Welcome to Morinville. We will see you again often! Thank you chef Don!


  4. My husband and I had dinner at Don’s on July 10th with some friends and the meal was fantastic. We all thoroughly enjoyed the meals and the atmosphere. Without hesitation, I can say that we will be going back. Great job, Don and many thanks.


  5. My husband and I went to Don’s Bar & Bistro for dinner Saturday evening, and we had a great time! The food was wonderful (I highly recommend the Bouillabaise), tastefully prepared and plated, and the service excellent! I absolutely recommend you try this restaurant if you haven’t yet, and I will definitely go back. Thank you Chef Don for a fantastic evening!


  6. The gals and I from RBC quite frequent the resturant (mostly at lunch) and it is ALWAYS a great meal!!! We plan to get together for a breakfast meeting sometime soon!

  7. Welcome to Morniville Chef Bom Buwala, Family and Associates. The BoyFreind and I went for dinner on Friday night and were pleasantly surprised by the friendly staff, the reasonable menu prices and the calming ambience. Our meals were both delicious, beautifully plated. Indicators of a marvellous chef. No longer will we wander the wastelands of the big city in an attempt to find such quality. It’s right here in Morinville!

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