CORNWALL, Ontario – Jason Shoot, new Owner of Cornwall’s famous Séguin Patate fry shack, has most commonly been asked ‘what are you going to change on the menu?’ since purchasing the local legacy in early 2019. His answer: absolutely nothing.
“I bought the place because I love it and I love what it’s about,” said Shoot, who was a dedicated customer prior to the purchase. “I didn’t put any pizazz on anything that’s here, I’ve kept it the same.”
Shoot said that although he may branch out and implement specialty items or limited time dishes every now and then, he wants to preserve the historic menu items as they have always existed. Since having the opportunity to take over ownership, Shoot has met hundreds of dedicated customers who have returned time and time again throughout the years, as well as several new customers, to taste the classic dishes. Shoot has introduced a new deep fried Mars bar and ice cream, which have both received positive feedback on social media, but hasn’t put any focus on it yet.
“I just want to master everything (on the menu) with my staff first. We are very lucky, we’ve had a great year,” said Shoot. “We have a great team and I can’t say enough about them, they are absolutely fantastic.”
Comprised of 11 staff members, both new and old, Shoot said that each employee is trained on cash and cooking, all assuming versatile roles. Prior to his first official opening on April 10, which saw a line of happy, hungry customers standing in the snow, staff participated in a soft opening to family and friends. Shoot mentioned that since taking over, staff have received a few constructive comments on social media and quickly implemented any changes to improve all areas of the business.
“I know the training is everything. When you have more training you are more comfortable with your job. We want to maintain quality,” Shoot said proudly.
Shoot takes pride in buying only the best ingredients from local businesses, making burgers in-house every day and creating all custom sauces and batters, like the business’s signature hot sauce. Fresh potatoes are cut, blanched and prepared in-house as well; the business always strives to serve the absolute best quality.
“We only use fresh ingredients…nothing is frozen, for the most part, except our treats,” said Shoot with a chuckle.
The most popular menu items are the fries and poutines, according to Shoot. He has noticed that their burger options are also growing in popularity.
Opening its doors in approximately 1957, Séguin Patate has seen various owners throughout the year, majorly by those bearing the Seguin surname. What used to be known as sold via chip trucks, many locals bear the memory of hearing the truck’s classic bell dinging in their neighbourhood, signalling them to dig in their pockets, or their parents, for some funds to buy a meal. Now housed on Marlborough St., a gem tucked behind Frecsh Co., Shoot used to drive by his business on his way home and think ‘one day I would like to own that’.
“I am super proud and super happy. I don’t know how to describe it. I am living the dream. This is what I’ve always wanted to do. I was working for people for so many years, it was time that I go on my own,” said Shoot.
Shoot worked as a Chef and Manager at numerous dining establishments since his early 20’s, in Cornwall and nearby cities like Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. He said that he has learned so much throughout the years from his roles and is ecstatic to finally be able to apply his wealth of knowledge to a place he can call his own.
“I love coming here and cleaning the deep fryers, cutting tomatoes, prepping…it hasn’t changed how I am. Sometimes I don’t realize I own the place, I just feel like I’m a kitchen Manager because I haven’t been in this position for a long time,” said Shoot humbly.
Shoot said what sets Séguin Patate apart from similar local establishments is their quality ingredients, consistency and history. He has emphasized to staff that working together and relying on each other is essential to make a good product, even when orders begin to fly in. Remaining friendly to all clients, handing out freezies to children during the summer time, is also a small action that Shoot feels shows the thoughtfulness that goes into ever action behind the scenes.
“I’m always talking about my staff. You’re nothing without your staff…you have to have a good team and I think that’s what separates some of the best restaurants I have ever eaten in,” said Shoot.
Shoot is also thankful for his wife, Melanie, and all her support throughout their journey.
Séguin Patate is set to remain open until Thanksgiving weekend, depending on the weather.