WESTMOUNT —Thousands of people have savoured the dishes from Cape Breton’s Paterson family through the years and a multitude of projects are underway to ensure those signature flavours are served to many more.
The family-owned Mise en Place catering service offers breakfast and lunch to 82 guests per day at Williston House and Rideout House on Churchill Drive in Sydney, but countless others have enjoyed their creations at weddings and special events over the past two years.
If all goes well, their food will also be a signature aspect of the posh experience promised for the renovated Sacred Heart Church in Sydney, but in the meantime, their skills are on display at the newly opened Dory Pub and Restaurant at the Dobson Yacht Club in Westmount.
“I like to describe it as more of an upscale bar, comfort in a sense but with our little twist on it,” said Mark Paterson, the company’s head chef, about the Dory.
“We mainly focus on fine dining when we do our in-house catering and our weddings and we like to bring that extra little special touch to it. When we created the (pub) menu we wanted to really make sure we are hitting everyone’s needs, what people really enjoy.”
The restaurant and pub had a three-night yacht club opening beginning Valentine’s Day 2020 before COVID-19 repercussions stalled further expectations for that site.
After reviews were good, yacht club members asked for more and so a five-year lease was signed.
Extensive renovations and menu creation followed throughout the summer and fall months, leading to December’s launch in Westmount.
The food there is created by Paterson and his fiancée and business partner Krista LeTerte who are graduates of the Nova Scotia Community College culinary program and have been working in area restaurants the last 10 years.
Also running the endeavour is Mark’s dad, Neil, who is 99 per cent of the time the friendly face that greets you at the door of the Dory each night to begin an estimated one-hour dining experience.
“Mise en Place is a French culinary term, and what it means in culinary terms is everything is in its place,” said Neil, who has 45 years of culinary experience, including the last 30 as director of passenger services at Marine Atlantic.
“Being prepared allows you to keep on top of the meals and that is the meaning behind the name.”
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
As such, fish, chicken and beef dishes are all on a manageable menu that emphasizes quality over the quantity of dishes.
“I didn’t want to make a big menu because I wanted to make sure we could focus on the main things and do them extremely well versus having so many things on the menu where you look at it and feel a little overwhelmed, essentially,” said Mark.
The Mac Patty, named for Mark’s son, has become a signature dish and a popular one. It’s a fresh-made beef on a pretzel bun that Mark says you can barely fit in your mouth. The meat is moisturized with bacon and cheese and covered with deep-fried jalapeños and onion Frits. The mayo includes a house spice he created.
“We just wanted something our own, you can’t really get anywhere else,” Mark said. “I feel like we have definitely hit that mark on it. The boys take a lot of pride in making those burgers.”
A fish and chips dish done in a Panko bread crumb that is more fish than batter is also popular as are chicken parmesan and seafood linguini pasta dishes.
All ingredients are made in-house and with local ingredients whenever possible.
Early reviews for the pub and restaurant have been overwhelmingly positive and reservations are now essential for Friday and Saturday night service.
Things are getting busy the rest of the week, too.
The Paterson family considers the Dorys one of the brands of Mise en Place, which they are trying to grow.
“This allows us to have a face, a storefront and allows people to come in and try things,” Neil said.
“When we do a wedding and we want to do a tasting, we will bring them here and cook what they want to have for supper for their weddings so they can see what it is going to look like. Something that sets us apart is these guys know how to present and make things look good.”
While The Dory seats 60 to 70 people, there is also a 177-seat banquet hall available. Renovations and upgrades will take advantage of a spacious outdoor deck and green space that offers views of Sydney harbour.
Weddings, banquets and other celebrations are expected to fill the Westmount site this summer and beyond.
The new pub and restaurant is open to the general public and not just yacht club members.
“We look forward to continuing and trying to meet their needs and we will change the menus up regularly and keep it fresh,” said Neil.