Chef Monique Vermeulen is shown with her mother Fern at The Creek in Moose Creek. For more information, please visit their social media pages. Thompson Goddard Photo

“If it can be done in house, we’re doing it in house!” said chef Monique Vermeulen

Moose Creek – The Creek, a restaurant located on the outskirts of this North Stormont community, opened on May 4 of this year, and is owned by chef Monique Vermeulen. She continued how Chuck, her husband, “has been exceptionally supportive and helpful!” and is at the restaurant as much as possible.

Vermeulen commented her husband named the restaurant, after the couple had spent some time contemplating what to call the business, knowing “it had to represent us”. With the decision made to name their business The Creek, she explained, The Creek is a nickname for the community, as her husband was born and raised in Moose Creek. Vermeulen mentioned after moving here she is proud to call Moose Creek her home.

“A classically trained chef by trade, food and all things food-related run wildly and passionately through my veins,” commented Vermeulen. She continued how the opportunity to open a restaurant presented itself shortly after moving to Moose Creek. “I’d recently moved to Moose Creek after reuniting with my childhood sweetheart. I fell in love with the town, and all the stars aligned for this to happen!

Vermeulen explained customers are offered to dine-in or take-out at The Creek, as well as providing special event catering or take-home meals. Patrons can enjoy pub evenings at The Creek in the pub area located adjacent to the café, beginning at 5p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays. She mentioned market/convenience item availability is currently in the planning stages.

There is a lot of work associated with setting up a small business. Vermeulen explained when setting up a restaurant, there is a lot of time spent setting up accounts, finding suppliers who provide products needed, developing recipes, creating menus, and hiring staff. “I have a passion for local – whenever possible, we buy and support local, working with several producers in the area. It’s important to me to have a small, local footprint,” continued Vermeulen. She added that: “a passion for items prepared in my own kitchen – I’m a little extra that way – we even make our own peanut butter!” Other challenges included staffing and “being unprepared for the sheer volume of business! Our beloved town had been sorely lacking good food.”

She mentioned meeting and interacting with customers is an experience she enjoys as is running a restaurant. “Our customers are amazing! Moose Creek (and neighbouring areas) have been extremely supportive, encouraging and loyal!” Vermeulen commented. Priorities for The Creek including “providing the absolute best service, food and drinks possible” she said, before continuing how the top priority is to ensure customers are happy, not wanting “anyone to leave disappointed.

Suggestions from Vermeulen to those considering opening a restaurant include being ready “to put your everything into your business but that’s because that’s what it takes – but it’s so, SO worthwhile!” She also explained how it can be scary opening your own business because “You’re opening yourself to the public, and that’s a vulnerable place to be. For myself, food is my passion, but it is perhaps one of the most subjective things to offer – what I love, you may dislike” and business is often unpredictable.

“Our vision is to build community by providing food and drinks that bring people together and an atmosphere that is a hub for locals and visitors alike. “commented Vermeulen.  She concluded by saying “our mission is to provide our beloved town of Moose Creek with a relaxed environment, unique twists in every bite, hyper-local sourcing – all to be enjoyed in a beautiful setting.”

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