Humble businesses recognized at Carleton Place Business Awards

Ian Carswell, owner and chef of the Black Tartan Kitchen.
Ian Carswell, owner and chef of the Black Tartan Kitchen, stands in front of the wall that his wife designed for the restaurant. The Black Tartan Kitchen took home the people’s choice award as well as the entrepreneur of the year award at the fifth annual Carleton Place Business Awards Gala. Photo credit: Harrison Field.
Posted on: November 6, 2017

Harrison Field

Win or lose, the businesses nominated for the fifth annual business awards of excellence in Carleton Place felt grateful just to be nominated.  

There are five categories for businesses to be nominated into: entrepreneur of the year, team of the year, excellence in customer service, community involvement, business of the year and people’s choice.  

The Beckwith Butcher won the coveted business of the year award, while Bean Chevrolet Buick GMC won community involvement.  Lakeside Mediterranean Shawarma won for excellence in customer service and Kirk Orthodontics Carleton Place won for team of the year.  

The entrepreneur of the year award and people’s choice award both went to Black Tartan Kitchen, which will be open one year on Nov. 17.  

When we found out we were nominated, we were thrilled,” said Ian Carswell, owner and chef of the Black Tartan Kitchen.  “It’s really a reflection on the staff and team here, especially the people’s choice award. I couldn’t be more proud of the team.”

There are currently nine employees at Black Tartan Kitchen, with a mix of both fulltime and part-time.  Carswell said that they have a relatively small turnover rate, which is rare for the restaurant industry.

Carswell singled out his sous chef, Chris Lessard, as someone that really helps with the business.  

“He’s phenomenal in the kitchen.  He’s a big part of helping put together menus and with creative license,” said Carswell.  “If it’s just your own ideas it can get boring or stale.”

Lessard wasn’t the only employee praised by Carswell though, explaining how helpful his general manager, Gregory Mills, has been over the year.  

“Greg has run a few businesses in the past so his experience is definitely appreciated.  Running a restaurant is clearly not all about cooking,” said Carswell.  

Carswell has big plans for the future of the business, but that doesn’t include any sort of expansion.  

“We’re really looking to become a pillar in the community.  A big part of the business plan is to give back to the community.  We plan to continue to provide great service, great food and to stay open,” said Carswell.  

They regularly help at the food and all of the proceeds from the bread service at Black Tartan Kitchen go to Y’s Owl Maclure in support of autism spectrum disorder services.  

Carswell plans to stay for the long run in Carleton Place.  

“We felt like we would be adding something to the community here.  It felt like a good fit and still does,” said Carswell.  

To some of the nominees, the recognition was more than enough.  

“The nomination means more to me, in a respect, than the award.  The fella that won does a lot more than me,” said Brent Devlin, owner of Apple Hill Towing.  “You always try to do your best in the community.”

Apple Hill Towing was nominated for Business of the Year, which was won by the Beckwith Butcher.  

Devlin deals with a wide range of people; some happy, some not. “About 90 per cent of the time people are pretty appreciative.  The other 10 per cent of the time, they aren’t pleased to see us, be it drinking or speeding or whatever,” said Devlin.

The business awards focus on shopping local and supporting people within the community.  

Local businesses share that same desire to shop local as well as give back to the community.  Whether it be ingredients for their next dish or an auto shop to have the car looked at, these local businesses are constantly looking for ways to keep business local.