Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Restaurant In Havelock

April 28, 2007 Patti's Country Cafe opened on Main Street Havelock, N.B. Owners (Photo) Left Carla Steeves and Diane Mills were going out straight and loving every minute of it.

Several years ago if one were to drive into Havelock there were two convenient Stores to serve you. One was Charlie's Store, which has been around for as long as I can remember Havelock. Anything you want is there and if it wasn't there you probably didn't need it anyway. Then there was a bright new shiny store on the block called Leaman's Convenience Store. It was nice too, you could sit down and have a coffee with friends and catch up with the news. But Havelock is just so big and the new store ceased to be. It sat dormant for a long while, while life went on.

On many occasions people would stop Diane or Carla and say to them, "Why don't you put a restaurant in the old Leaman's store?" One of those people was Dave Keirstead, the owner of the local funeral. He said that those visiting would surely enjoy a place to get a cup of coffee and lunch while in the village. The seed was planted, and Diane and Carla asked each other,"Why not?"

As Diane and Carla discussed the possibility they soon realized they had many to cater to, the Havelock Cement Plant, Havelock Lime, Eagle Trucking, Havelock School, Ridgebrook Lumber, Hydro and Pipe Line crews in the area and the local people themselves.

Both girls are working, Diane is the Editor and Chief of the Havelock Boys and Girls Club local newspaper, the Tid Bits, as well as being the manager of the Access Centre. Carla works at UPS in Moncton. But the seed was growing.

Both Diane and Carla's husbands, Fred Mills and Dennis Steeves, were behind the girls 100%. They put in many long hours to get the work done that was necessary to turn the store into a very nice restaurant.

On my way home from Sussex one day I stopped in for supper. It was the second day of operation for Pattie's Country Cafe.

There were five staff members plus Diane and Carla. The dining room seats 42 and has a full menu. The design is an open concept kitchen. While you are waiting for your meal you can watch the cooks preparing it. The dishwasher (Fred) is out in full view steadily washing dishes. Waitresses scurry about taking orders, serving up orders and Carla fast behind clearing and setting up tables.

There were no clocks on the wall to check how long your meal takes to get to you, but one must remember this is a brand new venture for these two entrepreneurial girls. As with any business there are glitches to work out, and already one fryer is down and the need for more ventilation is realized. But as I talked to those around me, they expressed how glad they were to have a restaurant in their small community, and patients were long. Besides, it is a great time to catch up on the news, they added. I overheard two farmers discussing new farming strategies as they waited for supper.

There was an anxious few moments over in the kitchen as one cook exclaimed, "The Fryers out!" As Diane quickly moved in to check out the situation another cook discovered it had only come unplugged. Diane turned on a dime and went about what she was doing. She was making a quick call asking if someone had any extra dishtowels, the place was packed and dishes needed drying. A quick explanation to Carla that she would be right back, Daine was out the door. I didn't even see her come back in she was that quick and no one missed a beat.

The staff at Patti's Country Cafe are Kathy McCully of near by Petitcodiac, Lynn Wood of Coles Island, Janet Nowland of Havelock, Kelly Cosman of Havelock, Jon Stevens of Havelock, and two part time staff, Kelly Kaye and Challis Kaye both from Prosser Brook.

Patti's Country Cafe in the heart of Havelock is opened from seven in the morning til eight at night. Carla who has worked in the food industry for many years loves the pace and loves the people. Diane and Carla have many plans for their new venture, and one is to work at it full time when the time is right.

As the evening wained and the crowds moved on, Diane and Carla gave me the grand tour. The layaout was very well thought out, and plans for the future already being put in place. One of their ear lies plans are to decorate the interior of their restaurant with memorabilia of the local history.

It was a pleasure talking with both Diane and Carla, to hear the excitement in their voices as they spoke of their accomplishments so far, and for their future plans. Oh, and on a closing note my supper was delicious, I never even noticed how long it took to get it. I look forward to returned visits and I'll bring friends along with me.