January 21, 2015

Gourmet groceries at new downtown restaurant

As published in The Erin Advocate

Chef Pam Fanjoy has taken an opportunity to combine her passion for local food with an interest in local history by opening the Mill Run Eatery on Main Street in downtown Erin village.

It is part gourmet grocery store, with some products not normally available in a small town, and a 14-seat breakfast-lunch restaurant that offers Sunday brunch and features a large community table.

Located in the building vacated by Carver’s Block, the Mill Run is two doors up from The Friendly Chef Adventures (formerly What’s Cookin’), which Fanjoy started just a year ago. The locations are on either side of Erin’s historic millrace, which once diverted water from Hull’s Dam on Church Blvd. to the mill behind Budson Farm and Feed, running directly under Debora’s Chocolates.

“I was concerned as a new business owner that Carver’s Block had closed, and I saw an opportunity to expand,” said Fanjoy, whose motto is, “Eat well with friends.” She says the new location has been doing OK even though they haven’t got a sign up yet.

Her primary business was already expanding and in need of more space. In addition to prepared foods, gift baskets and kitchen-related products, Friendly Chef Adventures is now fully licensed and serving lunch, providing catering, offering cooking classes and renting out space for parties.

The Mill Run Eatery has its restaurant seating by the window, then inside are displays that include a selection of cheeses and fresh meats. Each Friday, they bring in a different supply of fresh seafood for the weekend. There are also sections for frozen foods, and fresh produce such as lemon grass.

“I asked the community what they wanted,” said Fanjoy, who is a partner in the Taste•Real initiative for Guelph and Wellington, promoting the benefits of local, organic products. Information on events and incoming specials is available at www.thefriendlychef.ca.

The d├ęcor pays homage to Erin’s village history, with a large historical downtown map showing the millrace and photos of four mills from the 1800s. The location even has a trap door leading to the old water route.

While premium offerings do cost a bit more, Fanjoy said she has making an effort to offer people choices and to keep prices reasonable.

The Mill Run sells the Planet Bean line of coffee from Guelph – Fair Trade and Certified Organic – ready to drink or as beans. They have been carrying products from Everdale Farm near Hillsburgh, and meat from Wellington County farms that do not use hormones and antibiotics to enhance growth.

Packaged products include Roasted Chickpeas, Bomba Rice, Soup Girl mixes, 00 Pasta Flour, Smoked Paprika Powder (spicy or mild), and there are natural soda drinks with flavours like Blackberry-Pomegranate-Ginger and Pineapple-Coconut-Nutmeg.

Bottled products include All-Natural Mayonnaise, Rice and Fig Balsamic Vinegar, and various oils – Almond, Sesame, Hazelnut and Walnut.

The eatery is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm, except Friday when they are open until 6 pm. Sunday Brunch ($12.50 for adults, $10.50 for kids) is served 9 am to 2 pm.