Each year at the From This Rock dinner of local fare – the grand finale of the Culinary Tour, RANL presents the RANL Restaurant Hall of Fame award. This honor is given to those who have paved the way, the innovators and big picture dreamers of our industry.
The Hall of Fame Award is sponsored and supported by:
RANL Restaurant Hall of Fame
2010 – Inaugural Year, presented at the 27th annual Canadian Culinary Federation, St. John’s branch dinner and dance.
Stan and Jenny Parsons, Seaside Restaurant
Mr. Paul Johnson, Foodservice Corp
Steele Family, Steele Hotels and Restaurants
Pictured: Stan and Jenny Parsons of Seaside Restaurant in Trout River; Chris Rusted, Selection Committee Chair; Kathy Barbour, RANL President ; Nancy Brace, RANL Executive Director accepting on behalf of Paul Johnson; John Dicks, GM of Steele Hotels accepting on behalf of John Steele
Jenny and Stan Parsons:
Stan and Jenny Parsons own Seaside Restaurant, located in the most scenic part of Gros Morne National Park, on the beachfront of the small fishing village of Trout River.
Seaside Restaurant started out as Jenny’s father Sam’s fishing shed and car garage. He used the original part of the present building to mend his fishing gear and build lobster traps. The “prep room”, was once his car garage. In the late 1970s, Jenny’s mom decided to make part of the building an ice-cream parlor and by 1981, she had gone from ice-cream to fish dinners, with the opening of what she called Hann’s Snack-Bar and Restaurant. Once Sam was convinced to put windows in to view the sea it was named Seaside Restaurant, with a seating capacity of about 25 people
Soon “word of mouth” brought people in from around the globe and Seaside Restaurant was Recommended by “Where To Eat In Canada”.
In 1988, Stan, Jenny & daughter, Kendra took over the restaurant. They have continued to build on the legacy of good food and great Newfoundland Hospitality.
Stan and Jenny said it best when they wrote: We take great pride in our Special Place by the Sea. This is the story of our humble beginnings which has led us to international acclaim. We are very proud of our family heritage…
The Parsons’ passion and commitment has been acknowledged as a “must do” in many publications over the years. Through their long-standing commitment to tourism and rural communities, the Seaside Restaurant has demonstrated a commitment to excellence and encouraged an appreciation of, and respect for, our natural, cultural and aesthetic heritage.
Stan and Jenny have achieved tourism development and have helped grow and strengthened our industry. They have offered sustainable, seasonally-based employment to the local workforce for twenty-two years and have fostered greater public awareness of the economic, social, cultural and environmental significance of tourism.
For these enduring contributions, RANL is proud to induct Stan and Jenny Parsons into the Restaurant Hall of Fame.
Paul Johnson is best known for his Canada-wide achievements in the insurance business. In recent years, he has been involved in seeking to permanently enhance and preserve the truly exceptional heritage and history of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Amongst his best known heritage projects are the Community Historyboards, the Grand Concourse Authority, the Railway Coastal Museum, and the Johnson GEO CENTRE. Each of these, and sixteen other projects, has benefited from his vision, imagination, and funding. As a result of those endeavours, he has received quite a list of honours and awards
RANL recognizes Paul Johnson for his role as a pioneer and innovator, in a part of his business involvement that received little public recognition.
His Food Service Corporation was more a labour-of-love than a business.
It began (and ended) with Woodstock Colonial Restaurant. During the 1960’s, he brought new life into that property, which had operated as an inn and tearoom for many decades. His intention was to bring together traditional Newfoundland, festive home-cooking, in a carefully created, old-fashioned setting. With a new generation of managers and staff, he promoted Woodstock as “The First Choice for Thoughtful Hospitality”. Maclean’s Magazine named it one of the Ten Best Restaurants in Canada.
From the 1960’s into the 1990’s, the Food Service Corporation established other restaurant concepts such as the Starboard Quarter, the Light, Galley, and Anchor, Granny’s, and the Top Ten restaurants. Latterly, the Old Colony Club was acquired. Like with Woodstock Colonial Restaurant, new life was breathed into an operation that had, since the 1940’s, been a landmark and unique part of St. John’s banquet-dining and entertainment.
Through the Food Service Corporation, Johnson brought a commitment to excellence in the careful development of staff. They emphasized “continuous learning”, when this was a new concept in Newfoundland. The Food Service organization was a long term member and supporter of industry associations in Newfoundland and Labrador. Because of their efforts, many fine people achieved a great start and future in the restaurant business.
For his work as a builder and owner, and his establishment of high standards and imaginative improvements in food and beverage service, Paul Johnson is one of the first three inductees into the Hall of Fame of the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Since his 80th birthday, he no longer attends public functions, but sends greetings and gratitude to our Association and Members, and his sincere appreciation for this very special recognition.
The Steele Family:
The Steele Family introduction to the restaurant business started as a by-product of purchasing the Albatross Motel (Gander) in October 1970. The Albatross had 42 rooms, a restaurant and a bar and under the Steele family, has grown to a full service Hotel with 90 rooms and suites, a bar and first class restaurant. The restaurant at the Albatross has undergone considerable changes and renovations over the years and is now considered a must visit for a truly unique dining experience.
The changes and attention to dining detail the Steele Family instilled in their flagship Gander property ensures guests have an eating out adventure with home-cooked quality.
In 1974, the Steele Family purchased the Glynmill Inn (Corner Brook) and found themselves with two more dining establishments. The Wine Cellar was renowned as an upscale dining experience that specialized in beef and still is today. When the Wine Cellar opened in 1969 a steak dinner was on the menu for $4.75.
The Carriage Room was the main dining room for the Glynmill and opened in June 1924. The Carriage Room is steeped in tradition from its motif to its classic style menu with superb service and quality food. Some of the traditions of the Carriage Room have fallen by the wayside. Until 1993, upon arrival guests were given a menu card and a pencil to write-up their own orders which would be collected by the server and sent into the kitchen.
In 1976 the family purchased the Water Fall Restaurant on Bennett Drive in Gander and operated the restaurant until the Steele Family constructed Sinbad’s Hotel and Suites adjacent to the restaurant in 1978. Over the years, this restaurant became one of those “let’s get dressed up and go to Sinbad’s” kind of restaurants. Currently, the restaurant at Sinbad’s has undergone a complete makeover and menu redesign.
Until 1991 the Steele Family hotel and restaurant business was operated by Mr. Harry and Mrs. Catherine Steele. By this time a very diverse and demanding portfolio of business interests required their son John Steele assume the helm of the hospitality part of the family business.
Under John’s leadership, his “can do” attitude and desire to grow the business, the Steele Family business became Steele Hotels. Steele Hotels continued their growth agenda in 1995 with the acquisition of the Holiday Inn (Gander). Today that hotel operates under the name of the Irving West and boasts one of the hottest night club and eating establishments in Central Newfoundland.
John Steele’s vision and drive brought him to the huge undertaking of constructing the Capital Hotel (St. John’s), where he established Jack’s Restaurant.
Jack’s has become a well-known place where excellent service, quality food and great atmosphere come together.
Across the island, Steele Hotels have earned a reputation for quality experiences in accommodations and food service. Over forty years of menu development and culinary excellence means customers eat out at Steele Restaurants but feel like they are at home.
RANL’s 2nd annual RANL Restaurant Hall of Fame awards were presented on January 15 at the 28th annual Canadian Culinary Federation, St. John’s branch dinner and dance. The event took place at the Sheraton with a crowd of 350 in attendance.
The RANL Restaurant Hall of Fame was formed to pay tribute to those who laid the foundations for the vibrant hospitality scene we enjoy today. Those hard-working visionaries from all fields of the industry paved the way for the generations who have followed and continue to be an example of the standards still used as a benchmark of success. Chosen by an independent selections committee, the inductees who embody the hard work, foresight and passion the restaurant industry requires. Both of this year’s recipients have been integral in building our industry up to today’s standards.
RANL President Brenda Lawlor and Executive Director Nancy Brace presented this year’s awards, while Karl Wells and Amy House emceed the evening.
Douglas Anderson Strong – first Health Inspector
The Hong Family – Kenmount Restaurant
Nancy Brace, RANL Executive Director, Chris Rusted Selections Committee Chair, Andrea Maunder incoming RANL President, Frank Murphy, accepting the award for The Hong Family, Brenda Lawlor, RANL President and Stewart Strong.
Douglas Anderson Strong (posthumous)
Doug Strong was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland on August 6th, 1924, the youngest in a family of 5 children. His plans to study medicine at Memorial College in St. John’s were abruptly changed by the sudden premature death of his father. Doug was compelled to go to work to help support his mother and family.
He was the first health inspector for the Province of Newfoundland, having been appointed by the Commission of Government of Newfoundland in 1945. The first Newfoundlander to receive a certificate in public health inspection in 1949, Doug was appointed regional health inspector for western Newfoundland in 1950 and was stationed in Corner Brook. During his tenure, he assisted in setting up chest x-ray surveys for the Newfoundland Tuberculosis Association. He was also a member of the committee which introduced the Victorian Order of Nurses to western Newfoundland, and the director and founding member of the Canadian Red Cross in Corner Brook.
In 1954 Doug was appointed provincial chief health inspector, necessitating a move to St. John’s. He and his new wife Ramona Osmond, built a house on Logy Bay Road in St. John’s, where they were to live and raise their three children – Sandra, Gary and Stewart.
Doug became the Director of the Health Inspection division of the Department of Health in 1967 and in 1981 he was appointed advisor of special projects in the department, and was subsequently the Director of Emergency Health Services for the province.
Doug Strong served on numerous provincial and national boards, including the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Committee on Environmental Health and the CIPHI Board of Examiners. His many awards included those from:
- The Canadian Restaurant Association: in recognition of his work on the National Sanitation Code, 1973
- The Newfoundland Restaurant and Food Services Association, 1981
- The Newfoundland Public Health Association, honorary life membership, 1983
- The Newfoundland and Labrador Branch of CIPHI, January 1991
- The Canadian Public Health Association, honorary life membership, 1993
Doug was also active with the Boy Scouts of Canada, and was a past-master of the Avalon Masonic Lodge in St. John’s.
During his retirement years he was very involved in the CNIB, volunteering many hours reading for the blind, in particular reading textbooks to blind university students. He was also an avid gardener, and a life-long Anglican who attended St. Thomas’s – The Old Garrison Church – in St. John’s most of his life.
Most of all, Doug was gifted with a warm, outgoing personality, making him a wonderful father and kind friend to many. On behalf of his father, Stewart Strong proudly accepted the award.
The Hong Family
Mr. Tom Hong began in the restaurant business in the late 1930’s on Scotia Ridge on Bell Island. That restaurant later became the ABC grocery store which the Hong Family operated until 1962. The restaurant and store were operated by Tom’s sons Sam and Wally Hong.
Ted Hong, Tom’s Grandson went back to Hong Kong in the early sixties to learn the art of Chinese cooking and on returning to Canada spent a couple of years in Toronto furthering his skills. He then returned to St. John’s and convinced his father Sam, mother Lum S and uncle Wally to open a first class Chinese Restaurant. The site they chose was Kenmount Road where the Kenmount Restaurant opened in 1965 and has operated continuously since then, a period of 46 years. The restaurant is still owned and operated by the Hong Family today.
In addition to the wonderful meals at the Kenmount Restaurant many will also remember getting both Chinese and Canadian food at the A1 take outs located on both Topsail Road and Duckworth Street. These take outs were owned and operated by Ted Hong and his wife Jane in the 1970’s. As well, there have been several successful take outs in the Village Mall owned and operated by Wally Hong for many, many years,
Both Sam Hong and his son Ted were active members of the Restaurant Association in its formative years, with Ted serving on the Board of Directors for a number of years.
Mr. Sam Hong passed away in 1981, but Ted is still an owner of the Kenmount while Wally is enjoying a well deserved retirement. The Hong family have been active participants in the restaurant and food service business in Newfoundland for almost seventy-five years.
Because he still works at the Kenmount to this day, Mr. Hong was unable to attend the ceremonies in his family’s honour. Frank Murphy of RANL and Sanipro, as well as a friend of Mr. Hong, accepted the award on behalf of the Hong Family. Mr. Ted Hong accepted the award on behalf of the Hong Family at a later date. .
The RANL Restaurant Hall of Fame awards were presented in 2012 at the From This Rock Dinner of Local Fare gala. This dinner was the final dinner on a cross-province tour that highlights chefs and restaurants, but also the province’s farmers, fishers and producers and the bounty they bring to us.
The Barbour Family – Ches’s Fish and Chips
Gordon “Marty” Martin, Marty’s Restaurants
EW Harvey Ltd – Gary Harvey
The third generation of Ches Barbour’s family accept the induction into the Hall of Fame from Frank Murphy.
The Barbour Family
Now in the third generation, this family and family business is a story of success through hard work and a family taking the reins and expanding beyond the founder’s wildest dreams.
In 1951 Ches Barbour would leave the Narrows of St. John’s to catch the fish he and his wife Betty would cook at their small shop on Harvey Road. They would fillet enough fish, chop enough potatoes and make just enough batter for the day’s trade. The quality of the food built a reputation that would carry the generations. In 1958 they relocated to larger premises on Freshwater Road, the flagship of their growing company.
By the 1970’s Ches’s son Bob and daughter Kathy were working at the Freshwater store and in the 1980’s that store was expanded to include full dining service and a second location was opened on Topsail Road.
The 1990’s was both a time of joy and sorrow for the family. The family opened a third store in Mount Pearl, but in 1991 Ches, the family patriarch and business founder, passed away and that family tragedy was followed in 1992 by the devastation of the cod moratorium. But the family pulled together and Betty, son Bob and his wife Alice and daughter Kathy worked hard to survive the crisis and Ches’s Fish and Chips not only survived, it was bigger and better than ever.
In 1999 a fourth location was opened on Highland Drive in the city’s east end when longtime employee Sylvia Emberly became a partner and at the same time Bob’s daughter Jennifer went off to culinary school.
The 21st century saw Ches’s bring the third generation of Barbour into the business as Jennifer introduced a new menu with healthier options and Kathy’s daughter Kandice joined the firm. The new millennia also saw Ches’s expand off the Avalon when a store was opened in Gander with new partners Bonnie and Joe Mayo. Just this past summer a sixth location opened on Kenmount Road under the leadership of Sylvia Emberly.
Ches, and then his family, have always believed that employees are the backbone of their success and many have worked for the Barbours for 10 to 35 plus years. The Barbour’s have set up education funds for employees going to college or university and offer regular incentives.
For 6 years they have hosted the gala event Night of Delight, a major funder raiser for Camp Delight, a camp for kids, that Ches’s have sponsored for 15 years, and they have a great working relationship with Choices for Youth.
The little fish and chips shop that Ches Barbour started 61 years ago now boasts 7 outlets , a family business that gives back to their community and a family that works through adversity and change to be an ambassador of Newfoundland culture.
For those reasons we have chosen The Barbour Family of Ches’s Fish and Chips to be an inductee into the 2013 Restaurant Hall of Fame.
Accepting this award on behalf of the family is the third generation of Barbours, Jennifer, Kandice and Vickie
Marty’s daughters accept his induction into the Hall of Fame from Frank Murphy
Gordon “Marty” Martin, Marty’s Restaurants (posthumous)
Born in 1920 in St. John’s, Marty’s entrepreneurial spirit emerged at 12 years old when he bought a second-hand bike and rented it out to the other kids for 10 cents an hour. Putting the profit back into his venture, he bought and rented more bikes and…at a time when an experienced Water Street clerk made $4 a week, he made over $30 a week.
In the winter when his bike business was slow he delivered coal for the St. John’s Gaslight Company. His next venture was the niche he was looking for. He opened his first fish and chip wagon. His attention to quality product and service saw the business flourish to five Marty’s Wagons. In 1949 city bylaws forbade wagons, so he opened the first Marty’s Lunch on Freshwater Road, with himself and a staff of seven.
Three years later a second store opened on Water Street West, a year later he opened the third on Duckworth Street, until by the late 1970’s, he had 12 restaurants in the city employing over 200 people with annual sales in excess of 2 million dollars.
A founding member and president of the Newfoundland Restaurant Association he was also involved at the national level with the Canadian Restaurant Association and his empire included several vending machines and real estate holdings. He opened a highend lighting store called The Lighthouse and a nightclub on Bates Hill called The Trot and Pace, and he opened one of the first amusement centres in St. John’s called the Mis-Cue.
An innovative marketer of his businesses, he would have staff fill the expired parking meters of shoppers and leave a card on their windshields promoting his restaurant. During the summer he had a horse-drawn buggy complete with driver in top hat and tails drive seniors and tourists around at no charge.
A family man who worked side by side with his wife, he instilled in his three daughters the entrepreneurial spirit, his hard work ethic and a love and compassion for animals.
On retiring in his early 40’s, he gave preference to loyal employees and family members to take over the restaurants. Upon his death in 1990, former staff and their now-grown children talked of his help when they were in need.
Gordon “Marty” Martins drive and determination and his hard work built him an empire but his dedication to the community and his quiet dignity built him the respect of all who knew him. For these reasons we have chosen Marty to be an inductee into the Restaurant Hall of Fame.
Accepting this award was Connie Hayward, Gordon Martin’s daughter.
The third generation of EW Harvey, Jill and Nicole, accept their family’s induction into the Hall of Fame from Frank Murphy
EW Harvey Ltd – Gary Harvey
This RANL Restaurant Hall of Fame inductee is a family business that saw the whole family move from Montreal to St. John’s in 1957, when Eric Harvey came here to take over Frost’s Restaurant on Harvey Road. From that location they also provided boxed lunches for their first contract with airline catering with Air Canada.
As the airline catering business took flight, the business had outgrown the Harvey Road location and in the early 60s they bought a larger building where they acquired more clients and increased staff. In the late 60’s a move to the Airport Terminal building allowed the company to operate the restaurant and bar, as well as gift shop.
A new flight kitchen was built in 1975 and Gary Harvey and his brother took over the business when father Eric passed. At one point they were producing 2000 meals a day with a staff of 120 people. The challenge to provide restaurant quality meals was met and the business continued to grow. Three extensions were added in the late 80’s to make the 15,000 square feet needed to accommodate the volume of production and storage required.
Over the years this family-run company has catered to the Royal Family, the Pope, Sultans and Sheiks, as well as celebrities and has used this as an opportunity to involve other chefs and restaurateurs in showcasing some of Newfoundland’s finest creative meals.
Gary and Cindy Harvey have worked hard to grow and strengthen their business and now a third generation have begun to take over the reins, as daughters Nicole and Jill are looking at new opportunities to expand the base of operations into other areas of food service.
Having overcome the challenges presented by food service in the airline sector over the past number of years, E W Harvey continues to showcase Newfoundland to travelers from all over the world and for this reason we have chosen them to be an inductee in the Restaurant Hall of Fame.
Accepting this award on behalf of Gary and Cindy and the rest of the company is the third generation of EW Harvey: Jill Henderson and Nicole Harvey.
Chris Rusted, Manna Bakery
Each year RANL presents the Restaurant Hall of Fame Award to a recipient who has helped shape the industry, has given of themselves through volunteer work for the betterment of our industry and has left a legacy.
This year’s choice has done all of that! Christopher Rusted, known to most as Chris, has been involved in the foodservice and hospitality industry from a very young age and now boasts 40 years experience of “feeding the public”.
For his first 20 years, Chris held a senior role in head office with Kentucky Fried Chicken and was strategic in opening stores and growing the brand throughout Newfoundland. He even claims he has met “the Colonel”.
For the past 20 years, Chris has owned and operated Manna Bakery on Freshwater Road in St. John’s which is known for the “Manna chicken breast sandwich”. Manna was instrumental in bringing great European style breads and fresh ingredients to the St. John’s consumer.
Chris has also volunteered many hours to various restaurant industry trade organizations, having spent many years with the Canadian Restaurant Association, where he was the first Newfoundlander to serve as National President. In 2000, Chris was named an Honorary Fellow of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association.
Chris was one of the founding members of the Newfoundland Branch of the Canadian Restaurant Association in 1973.
When RANL created the Hall of Fame Award four years ago, Chris stepped up to the plate to lend his knowledge of our industry to his role of chair of the independent selections committee. He worked very hard each year to make sure we chose people who deserved the recognition.
His community involvement in St. John’s has been wide and diverse. Chris served as Director and President for many years with the St. John’s YM-YWCA, as well as, years with Triathlon Newfoundland & Labrador. On a weekly basis, Manna Bakery provides food products to The Jimmy Pratt Soup Kitchen at George Street United Church. His involvement with this program garnered Chris recognition by the St. John’s Board of Trade in 2005 with a Community Leadership Award.
Despite business and community accomplishments, Christopher Rusted marks his legacy through his three sons, Jonathan, Peter, and Timothy. Presently, Chris is transitioning into retirement to enjoy all St. John’s has to offer him and his partner Christine Clouston, while his son, John takes over at Manna Bakery.
Dave Young of The Young Group of Companies
David Young was born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland. After graduating from Bishop’s College, he made a living touring around the Avalon playing the organ in a rock and roll band – and although he likely didn’t realize it at the time – he grew to understand and appreciate the art of entertaining and pleasing customers.
From there he attended UNB and upon returning home for summer vacation in 1963, David was asked by his father to help manage the family business on Topsail Road. The business was Barney’s Restaurant and David was instrumental in managing the operations and catering facilities of both Barney’s and shortly thereafter, the Coral Room at the Bella Vista Country Club.
During this time, they opened the island’s first Kentucky Fried Chicken Take Out at 96 Duckworth Street and expanded over the years to include 9 KFC’s and a Pizza Hut. His entrepreneurial spirit and business acrimony helped pave the way for this province’s franchise industry.
Dave has developed a large and diversified hospitality and food service business that exemplifies his lifelong commitment to offering customers an exceptional experience in hospitality. He was presented with YUM! Brands prestigious Maple Leaf Award for Excellence ‘In recognition of outstanding performance and demonstration of values’ and in 1998 was awarded KFC’s Franchisee of the Year. His partnership with this world renowned brand has employed thousands of Newfoundlanders over the years and provided him with the opportunity to assist and support countless organizations and charities.
In the 1980’s David introduced Newfoundland to its first disco – Stanley’s Steamer which was touted as one of the best discos in Canada according to En Route Magazine. The operation continues today as a successful banquet facility and special events location.
In the 90’s he went on to develop new and innovative concept eating establishments – notably Knickerbocker’s Fun Food Emporium and the Bark n’ Kettle. His ability to identify up and coming trends in the food service industry and then conceptualize and bring to fruition successful operations that satisfied market driven needs has allowed him to stay ahead of the curve and continue to fulfill the ever changing expectations of the customer.
Currently, David is President of the iconic Woodstock Colonial Restaurant in Paradise and A Taste of Class Catering – an institutional and commercial catering company servicing Mile One Suites and Nite-Caps Restaurant. He also has several real estate holdings in and around the city. Dave Young is as active today as he was when he started his career. His leadership, business ethics, community partnerships, exceptional industry knowledge and reputation have ensured five successful decades of business in the food service sector. He has and still maintains a positive and influential presence in the industry. He has mentored many young business people including his three daughters who are involved in the family business. A self motivator and calculated risk taker, Dave Young personifies the Newfoundland entrepreneur and he continues to make a considerable contribution to the food industry landscape in our province.
Dave resides in St. John’s with his wife of 47 years, Rosalind Easton.
Boards, Initiatives, Charities, etc…
David was Past President of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador 1986 & 1987, Past Director of both the Grace General Hospital and the Health Sciences Board, Past Commodore of the Royal New Yacht Club, he served as Financial Chair of St. Thomas’ Church, a Director on The Board of Trade’s Newfoundland and Labrador Angel Network (NLAN), Director with Capital Coast Development Committee, Director of KFC’s Maritime Food Group, KFC Advertising Committee, KFC Franchisees Association and KFC National Purchasing Committee. He also worked closely with the Innu nation in exploring potential hydro development opportunities in Labrador.
St. Thomas’ Church Singing for Shut Ins, the Salvation Army Annual Community Christmas Dinner, Easter Seals Annual Boat Outing on Conception Bay, Mount Pearl Frosty Festival’s Kentucky Hockey Tournament, Colonel Sanders Cup and hundreds of other local initiatives.
Bianca’s Restaurant, Bianca Tzanov
Bianca Tzanov accepts the award from RANL Chair Andrea Maunder
In a place built and grown by immigrants, this year’s recipient found a home here in Newfoundland and Labrador. With little more than the clothes they carried, they made friends and built a life…. but they also built a legacy.
Water Street in St. John’s was nothing like it used to be its heyday and nothing like it is now, back in the 80’s and 90’s. What had been a bustling commercial and shopping street had succumbed to the mall trend and boarded up windows and for lease signs were the dominant landscape. Long before the boutique hotels, coffee shops, unique stores and celebrated restaurants we currently enjoy, an immigrant family of Bulgarians, fresh off the plane in Gander only 2 years earlier, put their heart and soul into a small casual restaurant as they began building their lives.
With advice from fellow entrepreneurs who could see a change coming to the street, they reinvented their burger place and in 1992 opened a restaurant like no other in the city.
They served fresh bright food with the flavours of their homeland married with the fresh local fish and the limited produce they could find. They built a name…. her name… with their food and their hearts.
Business boomed and in 1997 they moved into larger premises across the street and set out changing forever the way the people of St. John’s and visitors to the province saw dining in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Well before it was fashionable they served high quality local food…. they were one of the first customers of the Organic Farm… and they were the first to offer a huge selection of quality wines from around the world.
There was a piano bar where the wine flowed and there was a wall of wine where you perused your choices before ordering, there was an open kitchen, private dining rooms and a chef’s table…. all the trend now, but done for years by our Hall of Fame winner.
For over 20 years this year’s recipient was the bar to reach for those opening restaurants and spawned the majority of the chefs, managers, restaurant owners and restaurants in the city, who followed. The recent closure of the restaurant was the end of an era, but not of the legacy, as so much of the city’s flavours and concepts continue to be colored by its existence.
It is my pleasure to announce that Bianca’s Restaurant is the recipient of this year’s Hall of Fame Award…. for its role in changing the dining scene in the city, if not the whole province, for being a trailblazer in modern dining trends well before there were trails to blaze.
The restaurant’s muse, namesake and owner Bianca Tzanov accepted the award
Awarded to Rebecca Quinton, Quintana’s de la Plaza
Rebecca Quinton accepts her induction into the RANL Restaurant Hall of Fame from RANL Chair, Andrea Maunder
The RANL Restaurant Hall of Fame inductee for 2016 is a Newfoundland and Labradorean by choice.
Rebecca Quinton was born and raised in South Texas, just a few miles from the border of Mexico with Tex-Mex food actually part of her DNA. She has been working in the industry since she was 15. All through undergrad and graduate school she supported herself while working every job available in restaurants.
She graduated from Southwest Texas State University in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in Education & a Masters of Fine Arts in Communications and came to Newfoundland in 1977 on vacation….. and the rest is history.
She met her husband in St. John’s and together built both family and family businesses, instilled in their three children their tireless work ethic.
She opened St. John’s’ first Tex-Mex eatery – Casa Grande Restaurant on Duckworth Street in 1980 – followed by Chiquita’s Take-Out in the Torbay Road mall and Chiquita’s Take-Out Number 2 on Duckworth Street in the mid 80’s.
She spread out into retail food sales by starting Casa Grande Fine Foods Wholesale manufacturing in 1989 – first selling burritos, Salsa, and Tostados “nacho chips’ to the likes of Auntie Crae’s and convenience stores. That was quickly followed by wholesaling her products to Costco, Sobeys and Dominion stores in the St. John’s and surrounding area, which continues to the present date.
In 1991 she opened Quintanas de la Plaza in Churchill Square and in 2006 she Arribas Cocktail & Nacho Bar upstairs at Quintanas.
Her restaurants have been written up in Enroute magazine, Where to eat in Canada, and Trip Advisor.
She has also contributed to the business community through involvement in various associations and groups:
- She was a founding member of the Duckworth Street Alternative BIA
- Is a member of St. John’s Board of Trade
- Is a member of Restaurants Canada
- Is a member of the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland Labrador
Over the years she and husband Leith have employed over 1100 people and this week Quintanas & Arribas is celebrating its 36th Anniversary Fiesta! Quite an accomplishment.
From a simple vacation to the life she has built here in Newfoundland Labrador, this year’s inductee has worked hard and has, with Leith, built a successful business and a successful family. They have raised Luke, Josh, & Cassidy to be hard working members of society, as they have been as a family.
Aylward Family, Hotel and Restaurants in St. John’s and Marystown
RANL Executive Director Nancy Brace awards the Aylward Family with their induction into the RANL Restaurant Hall of Fame.
The honoree this year is a whole family, as they have built hotels and businesses across the province, which brought dining to the masses in both Newfoundland Labrador and New Brunswick.
This family started out in the hotel, food and beverage industry in the 1950s with their first hotel… The Laurentian in St. Lawrence, followed up in 1966 with a hotel in Marystown that boasted a restaurant, lounge and banquet services. By the late 1960ès they were feeding the travel weary in two more hotels, one in Goobies and another in Fortune.
The 1970s saw the family expand their endeavors into St. John’s with the acquisitions of the Skyline Motel and its popular Chinese restaurant. In 1973 the Hotel St. John’s, along with its restaurant, lounge and meeting rooms, was acquired and finally the Kenmount Hotel and the Airport Inn and their restaurants were added to the roster.
In the early 1990’s 4 full-service hotels with food and beverage, were added … but this time in New Brunswick. It was during this time that PJ Billintons’s was born and added to most of the hotels in NL and NB.
There were other endeavors, including night clubs and Reddi-Chef operations, but the main focus remained accommodations and food and beverage. While many of the past operations have been sold, some family members continue to operate Ramada St. John’s and Marystown Hotel, both of which are home to PJ Billington’s, while other family members own and operate the Guv’nor Inn and Pub.
Since the 1950’s this year’s recipient has welcomed and fed people all over the province and continues to embody the philosophy of hospitality and comfort food.
Frank Murphy (posthumously)
Frank’s family proudly accepts his RANL Restaurant Hall of Fame award
The Hall of Fame Award is presented by RANL each year to honour those who have worked hard to grow our industry, in its many aspects.
Over the years since we have presented this award, we could not acknowledge this year’s recipient passion and dedication, because he was always involved in either a board level or on the selections committee. After a couple of years of retirement, we thought it was time to tell him how much he has meant to so many…. but that was not to be. Only a week after we had said his name, as this year’s choice, he passed away.
Frank Murphy was a friend to all of us in industry. He was a kind and gentle soul with a wicked sense of humour and twinkle in his eye. He was a gentleman. He was smart and insightful and he was helpful.
Born to Francis and Sara Murphy in 1945, he grew up on Brazil Street with his four brothers and two sisters. He was happily married to his wife Linda for 51 years and he was the proud father of one daughter, grandfather to two girls, one great grandson and a great granddaughter he did not get to meet.
Frank was a well rounded and informed guy. He was an avid reader and was current with all aspects of life. For years he enjoyed golf, volleyball, tennis and hockey. He sang tenor for years with the Anchormen Barbershop chorus.
After graduating from Brother Rice in 1963 and spending one year in the air force, Frank found his niche. He started work in the industry as a salesman of restaurant and janitorial supplies and equipment with Sanitary Products, later Sanipro and more recently Big Eric’s. He was in the industry from 1965 to 2017, attaining the position of VP of Sales.
Everyone in the hospitality industry knew Frank and respected him. He was instrumental in the formation of Hospitality Newfoundland Labrador and was made an honorary member of Hotel and Motel Association in 1985. How does one sum up a life well lived? … only to say that all of his friends in industry miss him very much.
Frank was involved with RANL since the 1970’s and was an avid supporter of our industry. When the Hall of Fame Awards was created, Frank had Big Eric’s sponsor the Charger plate that is in the award and it is so touching that from that box of plates that he put in my hands, we will award the last one to him. We only wish he was here to accept it and to flash that smile at us all.
Frank’s daughter Doreen Tancock accepted this award on behalf of the 2018 Hall of Fame Inductee…. Frank Murphy.