A local couple, both of whom grew up in the Perth area, have taken over the much-loved restaurant at the Rideau Ferry bridge, and had their grand re-opening of CC’s on the Rideau on March 17.
Erin van Pelt, who has more than 20 years experience as a waitress, bartender and cook under her belt, including nine years at Maximillian’s in Perth, says she and her husband, co-owner Greg Wilkinson, took ownership of the restaurant in January.
In preparation for the grand re-opening the two have been busy with renovations and improvements; a big change is the kitchen, the kitchen is where it all happens. “We had to make it more usable,” she says, adding that her husband is the efficient one and the one that will be doing a lot of the cooking along with a full kitchen staff.
They’ve added some new chairs and tables in the dining area as well as some booth seating, but “we’ve kept it cosy with a relaxed feel,” van Pelt says, emphasizing they’ve put their own touches on things but changed very little.
The wide, light-coloured floorboards are still there, a wood-burning stove sits in the corner by the bar and big windows look out on the Rideau, with lots of docking for incoming boats.
“We’re a relaxed, neighbourhood, lakeside restaurant,” van Pelt says. “We want people to come, meet, and make friends.”
It’s family-friendly, too. van Pelt and her husband will be joined in the restaurant by their three boys — 19, 14 and eight. They’re all helping out “doing age-related tasks,” van Pelt explains. The eight-year-old, she adds, with some eye-rolling, is banned from creamers and milkers (what eight-year-old doesn’t think it’s cool to drink milk out of small containers?); he’ll fill sugar bowls and greet customers.
The 14-year-old will host, bus tables, do dishes, and prep. The 19-year-old will be home from Trent in the summer, and with a certain pride, van Pelt says he’s great at interacting with diners. Previous owner and now good friend, Mel Young, will bartend.
Already they have two experienced kitchen staff — Clayton Hillier and Haley Greer. Greer is in her fourth summer at the restaurant, and the two will take lead positions in the kitchen.
The menu is a bit different from that previously offered but the emphasis is still pub style with favourites like haddock and chips, wings and nachos. New items to the menu include New York strip loin, fresh salmon, some chicken and pasta dishes and “salads that can be a meal.” They won’t be fancy but they’ll be filling.
van Pelt offers an enticement to Le Boat visitors, or any boaters. The kitchen staff at CC’s will pack a lunch for them. They can take them on board or eat them picnic-style as they move slowly down the canal. The restaurant also plans to host groups or parties like rehearsal dinners, birthdays, anniversaries or family events.
“We’re excited about this. We both love restaurants, we’ve been lifelong foodies, we love people and we love the social aspects,” says van Pelt. “We want people to feel looked after, fed and important. We want them to feel they’ve had a better day when they leave than when they arrived.”
A ‘soft’ opening is expected for early March during spring hours — Thursday to Sunday. In the summer, the plan is to be open seven days a week. Get more information about hours and the grand opening on their website at ccsontherideau.com or by calling 613-267-6060.
Old photos wanted
For many, CC’s will bring back youthful memories — Ferry dances, regattas with swimming and boat races, the ghost story of Oliver’s Landing (murder and mayhem at Rideau Ferry in 1822) and van Pelt wants those memories to live on. She is looking for old pictures of times past to put on the walls with an explanation or story. If you have some, let her know.