By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - Take a bite out of the Seaway Summer Food Festival (#SSFF) before it ends this Saturday night.
© Adam Brazeau
Moustache Joe's owner Steve Montroy holds the Italian pasta trio dish being served during the festival. Waitress Emily Sabourin can't wait to dig in.
The festival offers a tasty tour of the city's finest restaurants, including Truffles, Casa Paolo, Eight Zero Zero, Schnitzels, Bar Q, and Moustache Joe's.
A variety of three-course-meals are being offered for $28.
Moustache Joe's in downtown Cornwall, the only restaurant offering four specialty plates at $22, has been swamped with patrons since the event kicked off on Tuesday.
"The response has been awesome - surprisingly - because obviously it's the first year we're doing it, and food festivals are popular in bigger cities, so I wasn't sure how it was going to be received. But we had enormous success with it right from the get-go," said owner Steve Montroy.
Moustache Joe's festival entrees include prime rib with au jus, handmade Italian pasta trio, chicken and veal parmesan, and their 'famous' linguini.
Montroy estimated that the price of each person's meal has been reduced by nearly 50 per cent.
"Moustache Joe's has the lowest price point in the festival because we wanted to help give everyone the opportunity to try as many restaurants as possible," said Montroy.
On Wednesday, the Pitt Street restaurant completely sold out of prime rib.
"Even on our regular prime rib night that doesn't always happen," he said.
Festival-goers are advised to make reservations if they're craving the popular dish.
"By the time patrons have their appetizers, hot bread, salads, entrees, and gourmet coffees (cappuccino, espresso, cafe latte) they're satisfied...a lot of desserts are to-go," Montroy said.
The festival wraps up with a BierGarden at the Jet Set Pub (NAV Centre, 1950 Montreal Road) on Saturday, July 19, at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at www.ssff.ca.
The beer and wine tasting event will feature regional beers, as well as a 'food truck' style menu from chef Lucas McCabe.
After the BierGarden, local musician Robert Cote will take the stage at Moustache Joe's.
Sebastien Manigat, festival organizer, says he's very happy with the response and the overall buzz surrounding #SSFF.
He's especially excited about the BierGarden.
"This event is a different approach to tastings that celebrates summer flavours, Ontario brands, and craft brewing," said Manigat.
Montroy sang his praises for being the mastermind behind the festival.
"Right off the bat, Sebastien got a lot of the key players in the city to take part in it, which convinced many of us as well," said Montroy.