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Weczeria restaurant


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Well here goes, even though I don't have a blog, I have you guys. It's a bit wierd talking about this, as this project has been a dream for myself and my wife for such a long time, that it's finally happening is something of a.... relief.

For starters, the name... Weczeria... For you Ukrainain or Pole out there, you should be able to pronounce this. It's Ukrainian for supper. Our orignal name did not do with our market survey, so we abandoned it and with the help of a translation site, came up with Weczeria. I'm Ukrainain and Nicole, my wife, is Polish, so we figured this fit us pretty well. Central Saskatchewan is home to many Mennonittes, Poles, and Ukrainain's as our concept is to feature Saskatchewan food as much as possible.

In my time here, I have met with many farm families who can grow many things for us. We are getting morel, chantrelle's and pine mushrooms from the north. Fresh fish; walleye, trout, and pike, fiddleheads, & wild rice as well. We also have suppilers for beef, pork, lamb, wild boar, deer, elk, caribou, and many game birds. Summertime will offer up the farmers market with it's many veggie producers. I have about 12 different farms I can get veggies from. We also have a maple syrup producer and one farm just south of us who is growing cantuloupes. So we have lots to pick from, which is great. Anything else we need we'll get from our local organic co-op.

As for the menu itself, we are going to try and change every 4-6 weeks or I'll change when I get bored. Lunch has about 10 items on it and our dinner menu is small with 6 appies and 6 mains and 5 desserts. This will keep me busy enough.

I'm just finishing the first men's now, I'm just waiting on some professional input.

Our renovation is coming along, the dining room is almost finished, we are applying the last coat of paint tonite and I hope to start drywalling the last kitchen wall tommorow. Our stoves aren't expected to arrive until next Wednesday. So I'm hoping for no delays. The basement also needs a good cleanup. The weekend will be our let's see where we are time and to go over any last details we may have missed.

So sometime next week, Weczeria will be open for it's first customers. Actually our first customer will be our landlord who owns the antique store in the building. He has been complaining that since the last place closed in November, he's lost 10 #. I'm very lucky to have great landlords who have bent over backwards to help us out in everything we have been doing.

Edited by Junior (log)

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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Dude!

Very cool - thanks for posting about the process. I am always so impressed with people who put themselves out there and start a business. Your menu (and sourcing list) is making me cry.

I know it is alot to ask for - but pictures would be great (as if you did'nt have enough to do already).

You must be very proud of yourselves.

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Congratulations Dan! You must be so excited - and exhausted.

Your plans to use local producers is amazing. I hope you share some of the trials and tribulations with us.

Please keep us updated on the rest of the renos and the opening - and I second Lee's request for pictures (if you have any waking moments free to take them).

Good luck!

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Congratulations and thank you for taking the time to post about your new venture. I haven't been to Saskatoon for over a decade, but I haven't forgotten its small city charm. I'm sure your restaurant will be a welcome addition, especially with such great ingredients at hand.

I'll echo the call for pictures, when and if you have the time and energy.

Best of luck!

Cheers,

Anne

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I get some pictures up soon enough. We have been painting today and dealing with some producers, so yes it's been busy. I did notice something, I spelled the name wrong on the thread title and my first post. When I noticed that I had to check our registration with the provincail government to make sure i hadn't spelled it wrong there, I didn't. Thank God.

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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Awesome! I'll try to stop by on my way out west in May...my folks live in Regina and I can't pass by there without sneaking up and playing Dakota Dunes, so now it sounds like I've got the whole day planned! :cool:

Best of luck and keep us informed...

Todd McGillivray

"I still throw a few back, talk a little smack, when I'm feelin' bulletproof..."

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Yes, it's where Emily's was. We are keeping the vault that was in the middle of room. No choice in the matter there.

VEH CHEH JA - is how you would pronouce it.

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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Thought of the day. When the blueprints tell you the floor of your kitchen has a 1' crawl space in it, you would tend to beleive the blueprints. What do you do when you discover that the entire floor acutally sits on a concrete slab ?

:blink:

I don't know, rearrange your kitchen for about the 100th time and pray that the gas fitter does not freak out on you because your changing things again.

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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Yes, it's where Emily's was.  We are keeping the vault that was in the middle of room.  No choice in the matter there. 

VEH CHEH JA - is how you would pronouce it.

Oh, what are you doing with the vault?

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We're making the vault into a wine cooler. We have a refrigeration tech in the family and he is going to set it up so we can utilize the space to it's fullest potentional.

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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We're making the vault into a wine cooler.  We have a refrigeration tech in the family and he is going to set it up so we can utilize the space to it's fullest potentional.

That's fantastic. If you don't have time for pictures while this is all happening, I hope you at least share the finished space with us.

When we were looking to move our business last year we saw a couple of old banks - all the vaults were located in areas that it made the spaces unworkable for us. I'd love to see the transformed vault. I always thought they'd make great private dining rooms - for a table of two :biggrin:

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Good luck on the new venture!

We've just transformed our vault into a private dining room, but drilling through the 17" concrete walls was a bit ridiculous.

Next time we're out that way we'll check it out. Great to hear about the prairie bounty getting utilized by a great chef.

Owner

Winebar @ Fiction

Lucy Mae Brown

Century - modern latin -

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The building we are in was built in 1910 as a lumber yard. The building holds a number of other tenants inculding a recording studio, a graphic designer, a physio-theraphy office, and the landlord's antique store. The area we are located in was the office for the lumber yard. There is a small alcove off the east wall that has a small window which back in the day, which you used like today's drive through, expect instead of food, you made your order for lumber suppilies. The vault is acutally only large enough for me to stand in, so a table was out ofhte question but it's large enough to hold a couple fo wine racks. We also have the only basement in the building as well. There to is another vault, which were using as storage for now.

Pictures will be forth coming, we're just busy trying to get keep up with appointments with the bank, suppiler, insurance, and other various trades people.

Yesterday, i made the first order for food so that was exciting and we are finishing our painting today. So things are getting closer.

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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  • 2 weeks later...

This sounds great. It's exactly what Saskatoon needs. I was there some, oh, six years ago and was appalled by most of the food I had. At the time I said to a friend, "Man, there's money here, why doesn't someone make a cool restaurant?" Glad to know you're doing it. Good luck with the project.

(ps. my previous experience in Saskatoon was so bad I wrote a blog about it:

http://lava-blog.blogspot.com/2006/02/trip...saskatoon.html)

Paul B

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We hope to open tommorow. I was filleting salmon and trout last night until 1 in the morning. I am hoping to add some pics soon. When I find the time.

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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Kudos!

That's very exciting! Now I have a reason to visit!

"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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Today was our "first" full day of business. We survived alright. I keep meaning to post pictures but I'm exhausted. right now, one of our probelms is the weather, with it being cold here, our decal for our sign on the canopy will not be put up until the temp rises above 0 degrees. In Saskatchewan that could mean around December. :raz:

Opening a restaurant is very... stressful. Not only are we the server and the cook but my wife take turns dishwashing and cleaning. So, you can get a little bogged down in doing many other things in your day. So when it comes time to do your job... you slip while cutting a shallot and cut yourself deep enough that it won't stop bleeding. Anyways I now have a Frankenfinger and I can not grip anything properly.

For all you would be thieves out there, our alarm system now has went on the blink for third time. I'm calling in for a new system tommorow.

I have to go to bed now, so I can get up early tommorow to finish cleaning and arranging the basement.

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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  • 4 months later...

Not sure if there is any other threads pertaining to Weczeria elsewhere, so allow me to revive an old thread...

I've been there over a dozen times, and I've become something of an evangelist. There are other good restaurants in town, but there's something about Weczeria that appeals to the hardcore foodie - something 'we' get that patrons of other restaurants in town don't understand.

Or so I think.

Dan's done a great job of working in local ingredients and doing other sourcework. The service is pretty casual - it's the food that is the star, and the cool thing, is if you have questions, Dan will gladly answer (so long as it isn't a friday or saturday and a table for 15 didn't just walk in...)

I have to run for now, but I'll post more later...

PS:

I'll be posting photos to my flickr Weczeria set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/espressolab/1...57594210039729/

head barista/coffee crusader

caffe sola

saskatoon sk canada

espressolab.ca (blog)

caffesola.ca (work)

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I had a great lunch last week at Weczeria. I 'subjected' Junior to a large herd of my relatives who gathered again this year in Saskatoon and Elrose, Sask from various parts of the country. It was a pleasure to meet Junior and we all thoroughly enjoyed our lunch. I wholeheartedly support restaurants that embrace the use of 'local' products to the extent possible and a big thumbs up to Junior for his local efforts. Most of us had paninis for lunch. Mine was very tasty with roasted tomato, fennel and eggplant. My caesar salad was a refreshing change from the usual, with lots of extra zing in the dressing and outstanding bacon. Thanks for your hospitality Junior!

Support your local farmer

Currently reading:

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

Just finished reading:

The 100-Mile Diet by Alisa Smith & J. B. MacKinnon

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We had a wonderful summer dinner at Weczeria. When we arrived the chef was finalizing the backboard menu. That's a truly a fresh sheet!

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Dan is a passionate, creative chef, talking a mile a minute about his ingredients and his suppliers. I could have chatted with him all night, but before we knew it, the place was full of diners. Dan had to work twice as hard because his wife, who usually work with him, was out of town that evening. He was a cooking dynamo, whipping around like a hummingbird, checking in with his customers and then whirring back to the galley to whip up his incredible meals.

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The tables are dressed simply with white linen and glass sheaves of wheat.

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Beautiful farm flowers graced the bar.

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An unhung painting by a local artist named named Sarah Ivy Gallagher brightens up a box of fresh herbs. Look at Dan's plating below to see a relationship to the vivid brush strokes of this artist.

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When Dan told us the winemaker at Nk' Mip was from Yorkton we had to order their wine, so we had the 2003 Merlot and a few glasses of their Chardonnay as well.

I've always wondered why there is so much crappy bread served in the province of waving wheat fields. Finally, a sampling of the perfect épis! (Dan please remind me the name of the baker.)

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I started out with a market tart filled with sautéed leeks and micro greens. The plate with painted with daubs of pesto and other brightly flavored sauces.

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I had the elk ribeye with spinach, potatoes, and blueberry sauce. The potatoes were a variety I hadn't heard of--was it harmony? They were firm, creamy and milky-colored potato. Look at the presentation: very sculptural and painterly, don't you think?

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My friend had the white fish--another inspired presentation.

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Then we had the wild blueberry sabayon for dessert. Apparently he learned to make sabayon from our neighbor Herve at L'Hermitage here in Vancouver! Wild blueberries are smaller than the tame ones and grow low to the ground. The flavor is incredibly intense.

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The toasted bit on top and the wild berries elevated this sabayon above any other I've ever tasted.

One photo I didn't take was the pickeral cheeks with chanterelles and chili that came out as a gift. We wolfed those down so fast, f-stops and shutter speeds were the furthest things from my mind.

Dan has an inspired relationship to his suppliers and the ingredients he works with. I really like the final sentence in Sarah Ivy Gallagher's artist statement: " That humans are not separate but rather one element among others within the natural world is evident in my expressive interpretation of the landscape." Similar things could be said about Walker's cooking--he respects the local ingredients and using his training creates expressive meals that represent a creative collaboration between supplier and chef. Thanks for a wonderful evening Dan!

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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Wow, I honestly don't know what to say but thank for all the great pictures and very kind comments. I enjoyed having you in the restaurant that night. You and your friends are the reason why we do what we do. Thank you again for the pictures and comments.

Our bread comes from Christie's Mayfair Bakery, Tracey and Blair Muzzolini are our bakers. Their father started the bakery way back in the late fifities (I think) and the brother and sister team are taking over the bakery. Tracey has worked all around the world and is the creative force behind the bakery. She specailizes in sourdough breads and tradional Italian bread as well. The bread she bakes is amazing.

We are working on a website and hope to have it up and running soon. My designer was in tonite for dessert and was asking for some content. So I have to sit down and start writing something for the site. We'll post a link as soon as it's done.

I shouldn't forget lemon curd either, for bringing so many of her family members to the restaurant. Two egulleteer's in one week ! What a thrill that was. Thanks again for the kind words.

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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Zuke - holy shit.  What incredible photo's - and letting us see first hand what incredible work Dan is doing.  Food Porn of the best sort - Vargas instead of Larry Flint.

I agree. Thank you, Zuke

Cheers,

Anne

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