February 4th, 2016
Cards Against Urbanity is a spin off of the wildly popular game called Cards Against Humanity, with all sorts of urban planning humour imbedded within. One of the phrases that stuck with me was, "A LEED Certified building in the middle of nowhere." I immediately thought of that card when I visited the Mosaic Centre.
A LEED certified building on the current edge of our city, the Mosaic Centre has been lauded as a pristine example of sustainability. While there’s no doubt that it is a beautiful facility – a ton of natural light, a living wall and an open design that encourages connectivity – it is unfortunately quite isolated, adjacent to a residential neighbourhood and not much else. Something needs to be said about its location – if everyone visiting the site drives in (as many do, as there is only one bus that services it at the moment), doesn’t it take away from its net zero status?
Mosaic Centre interior
But then again, the focus of this post isn’t about the building, it’s about the restaurant located on its main floor. Workshop Eatery is Chef Paul Shufelt’s first solo establishment, opened after ten years leading the kitchens of the Century Hospitality Group. How it came to be was in some ways a happy accident – a conversation about the possibilities of a space in a green building. Paul was drawn to the opportunity to put down his own roots, including literal roots into the ground in an adjacent garden to supply the restaurant. It was also a chance to enhance the relationships with local producers that he had started over the past few years, but were ultimately more difficult to manage within the complexities of a group of restaurants.
Chef Paul Shufelt
There are many ways to be sustainable, and though I’m somewhat skeptical of the Mosaic Centre as a whole, Workshop Eatery could help bring some awareness to an area of the city where there are fewer independent restaurants and establishments that promote an eat local philosophy. Besides utilizing the honey captured from the building’s rooftop bee hives, Paul and his staff spent much of the fall canning and preserving vegetables harvested from local farmers, hoping that the inventory of 400 jars will last into the spring. The plan from May to October is for the menu to feature at least one dish made with an item picked fresh from the front yard garden.
Before Christmas, some friends and I met up at Workshop Eatery for brunch on a Sunday. Two of those friends live in Summerside, so were particularly optimistic to see what their new neighbour had to offer. The first impressions were positive – we loved the high ceilings, the abundance of windows, and the accessibility of the open kitchen. That natural light extended into the kitchen itself – most staff working in galley-type spaces would been green-eyed at the sight.
Workshop Eatery has quite a varied menu for brunch, with a dozen dishes to choose from. It does have something for everyone, including vegetarians and those who lean towards more hearty lunch offerings instead of breakfast. I settled on the chorizo & chedda’ omelette ($17) while Mack selected the traditional eggs benedict ($17). Our only letdown on the menu side is a brunch pet peeve of ours, though we understand the space and equipment requirements – Workshop only serves espresso-based drinks, while Mack and I much prefer drip coffee in the mornings. We make do with Americanos, but it just isn’t quite the same.
Chorizo & chedda’ omelette
At any rate, the service was fantastic throughout our meal, attentive and much more polished than we would have expected from a newly-opened restaurant. We also thoroughly enjoyed the food, and appreciated the use of local products, such as Four Whistle Farm eggs. I thought the chorizo omelette packed a lot of flavour, and I appreciated the added dimension of a potato hash on the side as opposed to more plain potatoes. Mack had no complaints about his eggs benedict, with the eggs poached soft as requested.
Traditional eggs benedict
Before we left, we were eyeing up some of the dinner items – among them the ricotta and potato stuffed perogies and the cleverly named duck duck couscous (which Paul had no qualms telling us it was a name he borrowed from Farrow Sandwiches). We know we’ll be back at some point, but given it isn’t in our neck of the woods, it might be some time before we find an excuse to visit Summerside again.
2003 91 Street SW
Monday-Wednesday 11am-10pm, Thursday-Friday 11am-11pm, Saturday 10am-3pm and 5-11pm, Sunday 10am-3pm and 5-9pm