One hundred and thirteen Harder Street in Maple Creek has had quite the life. It has been a shop, a Chinese restaurant and soon a deli and bakery.
Jordyn Guckert, owner of The Shop – named for it’s previous life as a shop and the industrial feel – said it has been a dream her whole life to open her own restaurant.
Guckert spent four years in Calgary studying professional cooking as well as pastry and baking, both two year programs, at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Polytechnic.
“SAIT taught me to think outside of the box when cooking. To not be afraid to change up a traditional recipe a bit,” explained Guckert.
“It also taught me the importance of really good ingredients. That is something I won’t give up now, everything has to meet a standard.”
Great ingredients are an important aspect of the new food place in town that isn’t quite a restaurant, a bakery or a deli and is instead a little bit of everything.
Wherever possible the ingredients will be locally sourced from Saskatchewan with plenty coming from the Southwest. Next summer she plans to put in a little garden to have access to her own tomatoes, lettuce and other produce.
“We’ll be getting a lot of product from the Hutterite colonies as well. Things like eggs and onions stuff like that,” Guckert said.
Good ingredients doesn’t stop there. Guckert said she is also particular about the quality of items she won’t be able to locally source. Products like milk, cream and sugar have to be of a particular quality to pass inspection.
“I don’t skimp either. I will use actual cream in sauces and soups and real butter not margarine,” said Guckert.
The items made in The Shop will change all the time and will include a little bit of everything.
Guckert and her staff will be creating cakes, pastries, pies, cookie and squares just to name a few on the sweet side. The Shop staff will also have two different soups every day, salads, sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches and sides ready for breakfast, lunch and supper.
The items for sale each day will vary to give customers a taste of something different everyday.
The meals and treats will all be made in the open concept kitchen and be packaged for a quick grab and go meal.
Guckert describes the food to be sold at The Shop to be classic and “normal” but with a different and unique twist.
“I love grandma recipes. I like pushing them beyond the level of expectation,” said Guckert.
“We aren’t technically a restaurant. It won’t be like you sit down and order and you get this big plate with a garnish,” Guckert explained, adding there is some seating inside the building for those who wish to eat their sandwich or soup in house.
Originally Guckert hoped to be open for the summer season, however extensive updates to the interior and exterior of the building caused the open date to be pushed back further than expected.
Opening a new restaurant/deli/bakery in what was once an abandoned restaurant is a lot of work, and a lot of cleaning.
“It was chaos. It was a real eye opener working to get everything ready,” said Guckert who added she had done things in getting ready to open she never thought she would ever do.
“I had to acid wash the floor. I never thought I would do something like that. I mean, I am a baker.”
The labour of love included a ton of help from family and friends without which The Shop wouldn’t have gotten off the ground, according to Guckert.
To create a completely open concept with no walls blocking the kitchen to the customers, walls had to be taken down and a lot of paint went up on the walls and ceiling.
Having an open concept will allow everyone who enters the doors to the new establishment will be able to see everything that is being done, how the food is being cooked or a cake decorated. It also keeps everyone accountable for what they are doing, and to keep everything clean.
“I don’t like mess and if our customers see a huge mess when they come in, well that’s not a good thing,” Guckert said.
The industrial theme of The Shop will set it apart from some of the motifs seen around town. It also plays on the idea of her food being slightly different from the traditional.
“I’m trying to be a Fruit Loop in a Cheerio world,” said Guckert.
After a long summer of hard work by Guckert and an army of friends and family the opening is on the horizon. The official open date is Sept. 12 and will be open from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
For the winter months The Shop will be open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. The hours will change in the spring and summertime to account for the patio Guckert will put in, but that will be looked into a little later.
“I’m really excited. I hope people like it and they have fun, that’s very important,” said Guckert.