SUMMERSIDE – With a more modern look and menu the owners at the Loyalist Country Inn are excited to see its dining room doors open again.
“It’s been an amazing change. To the menu and to our dining areas,” said Barb Arsenault, the food and beverage manager at the hotel.
Arsenault has been working at the hotel since 1991. First, she started as a server and then in 2004 she took on the role of manager.
“We’ve needed an update for so long and now we have people who are investing in the hotel and putting their heart and soul into this place. We’ve been looking to this for so long.”
Arsenault describes the previous menu as pub style food. But now, with Darla Brown at the helm in the kitchen, the menu features items from the Island major industries, agriculture and fisheries.
“The majority of our menu comes from the Island. And we’re not using as many frozen products either. We’ve called the restaurant Iron and Salt because I wanted it to connect to the Island’s land and sea. Iron in the soil and sand and then salt from sea,” said Brown.
The dishes on the menu are aimed to draw reaction from people’s taste buds.
“I wanted to be able to do the foods I wanted to cook. When you’re spending a majority of your time in the kitchen you want to put something out there that you’re proud of,” she said. “I’ve tried to add combinations that, in your own home, you might not think to try. It’s been inspired by Island produce and products with little hints of my own flavor and experiences.”
The breakfast menu has been also simplified, but there’s a little bit for everyone, Brown added.
Brown and Arsenault say they are proud of the new menu, which is primarily gluten free except for the restaurant’s fried oysters and biscuits.
“I made the menu this way because I didn’t want people to feel they had to take things away from the dish in order to be able to eat it.”
One example would be the menu’s wedge salad.
“It’s not your typical dish. A typical wedge salad has lettuce, tomato, red onion, blue cheese, ranch sauce and bacon. Ours has a caper dressing, marinated beans in various herbs, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced shallots and garlic crumbs from our gluten free bread.”
The menu update was met with physical changes in the dining and lounge rooms. Freshly painted walls, new flooring and paintings have brightened the dining room while comfy chairs and a streak of blue paint have been incorporated to support the already existing art.
“Before these changes there was always the idea that if you weren’t dressed up you couldn’t come to the dining room. And the dining room and lounge didn’t work together like the same restaurant but separate ones. We want to change that.”
Arsenault and Brown agree that the changes are giving the hotel a second chance.
“I’ve stayed for so long because I loved what I was doing. And I loved the people. So, I’m glad to see these changes.”
Brown added, “It wouldn’t be possible without the support of the staff and the community.”