New Quince Bistro opens in Creemore
Otta Zapotocky experiences the world through his palate, seeking out the best flavours of every country and combining them in his globally inspired cuisine.
Wherever he goes, the chef and sommelier, is on the lookout for the best places to eat, and visits to Creemore were no exception. Those visits led to an opportunity to move, with his family, to the village and set up a new restaurant.
Quince Bistro is opening next week where the Sovereign used to be, and yes, schnitzel will be on the menu.
In a sense, Zapotocky said it is going back to his culinary roots. Being Czech, he grew up on the Central European cuisine. The region, he said, is heavily influenced by German and Hungarian flavours, having adopted and adapted dishes associated with those cultures, like goulash and paprikash.
He is also heavily influenced by his world travels and plans to incorporate the flavours of the world in the bistro’s menu.
Zapotocky said wherever he travels, his focus is on food and drink.
He and his wife Jenna Kang developed a liking for the village during regular daytrips from the city.
“We would be dreaming about how it would be to live here. We wanted to leave the hustle and bustle of the city for the quiet life,” said Zapotocky. Part of that dream was to provide an idyllic childhood for their five-year-old son Otti.
Zapotocky said they felt a connection to Creemore so it was kismet while browsing at Viva Décor they met proprietor Cyndie Gordon, who informed them that the former Sovereign Restaurant was fully set up with kitchen equipment and could be transformed back into a restaurant.
Zapotocky tells a story of his youth, his earliest memories of being in the kitchen with his mother and sisters, who are also chefs. His mother started work at the restaurant at 4 a.m. so Zapotocky, even in first grade, had to get himself up and to school but the alarm clock failed to rouse him, even when his mother put cutlery around it to amplify the racket.
His mother decided to take him to work with her so that she could be sure to get him to school on time. The idea was that he would sleep on the benches of the restaurant but instead, Zapotocky was drawn to the kitchen, where he would stir onions and help kill and skin the rabbits for the stew.
He immigrated to Canada from his native Czech Republic in 1999 to further his career as a chef.
He worked first in British Columbia before coming to Toronto. Most recently he had L’Avenue on Bayview Avenue, and Tinto across the street.
His focus then was on French cuisine but Quince Bistro will be something different. The new restaurant is named for the exotic fruit, which Zapotocky says looks like a pear and cooks like an apple. He liked the idea of something being so versatile, not one thing or another.
He says he wants his new restaurant to be a little of everything for everyone, as challenging as that sounds.
“It won’t be one thing, not a French Bistro, not a pub, but it will have elements of both”, he said.
He hopes people will feel welcome to come in work boots or high heels. There will be a specific lunch menu, to allow people to get in and out in good time, there will be many courses for those who wish to linger. People wanting a beer and schnitzel, a glass of wine and charcuterie, or coffee and house made desserts – cheesecakes and chocolate truffles were mentioned – will all welcome. The coffee bar is built using the original counter from Creemore Springs Brewery.
Zapotocky said he is up for preparing special tasting menus and there will be daily specials, wine and beer pairings and monthly events.
It will be family friendly, including a kids’ playroom in the back.
Zapotocky has made some renovations to the space at 157 Mill St. He has opened the kitchen by adding French doors so he can interact better with the clientele.
Quince Bistro is set to open Wednesday. It will be open from lunchtime through to dinner (closed Mondays and Tuesdays but open on holiday Mondays).
For reservations, call 705-466-9999. Visit Quincebistro.ca.