“Drake-by-the-lake” opens

Drake Devonshire head chef Matt DeMille. Photo by Nigel Powers.

Drake Devonshire head chef Matt DeMille. Photo by Nigel Powers.

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WELLINGTON, ON—Following a two-year restoration of a late 1800s foundry building, the Drake Devonshire is slated to open on Sept. 15 in Wellington, ON.

The new Prince Edward County hotel will have 11 guestrooms and two suites. The inn also features a full service dining room, private event spaces, a permanent and rotating art collection, an outdoor patio, a creek side deck and fire pits.  

The team at the Devonshire includes innkeepers Chris and Jessica Loane and head chef Matt DeMille.

Drake innkeepers Jessica and Chris Loane with son Harrison.

Drake innkeepers Jessica and Chris Loane with son Harrison.

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The dining room offers views of Lake Ontario and seats about 85.

With the guidance of Drake corporate executive chef Ted Corrado, DeMille created a farm- and lake-to-table menu, including some Drake standards, such as its burger and fried chicken. Some new Prince Edward Country menu items are on offer, such as the farmer’s lunch with smoked fish, devilled eggs, fruit, cold roast beef, rye and sourdough breads, horseradish cream and mustard ($17), a tomato and strawberry salad ($12), seafood chowder ($20), Kendall Dewey Fisheries pickerel with corn and crab panzanella and salsa verde ($22), and rabbit carbonara with handmade papardelle ($18).

DeMille said the menu aims to make the destination appropriate for everyone, not only hotel guests, but residents and people passing through.
“There is stuff on there like the seafood chowder that reads simply, but when it lands in front of you, you’re blown away,” said DeMille, who started out at Canoe restaurant in Toronto straight out of chef school and held posts at Le Sélect Bistro, Parts & Labour and Enoteca Sociale before moving to Wellington, ON, as executive chef at Pomodoro Trattoria & Wine Bar, which is directly across the street from his new gig.

“When I saw that the Drake had purchased this property, I had to get in here,” said DeMille.  

He noted that his cooking style has changed quite a bit over the years and he is focused on creating dishes using a few really good ingredients, cooked simply. “I’m not doing asparagus 25 ways, I’m doing asparagus with a nice char grill, tossed in a little lemon juice with a mint aioli, something like that,” DeMille said.

His 14-person team includes executive pastry chef Christine Fancy.
The Devonshire will also have community events such as pig roasts, clambakes and barbecues.

Like the Drake’s Toronto properties, the Devonshire has its own house wine, Vintner’s Daughter, which is made by Rosehall Run winery in Wellington.
Jonathan Humphrey created the cocktail menu, which highlights local spirits and herbs, such as the Sandbanks Sour featuring local red wine syrup.

The Devonshire lobby has a small Drake General Store offering snacks, toiletries, Drake’s clothing line and gift items.

Under the direction of John Tong of +tongtong design firm, the décor juxtaposes the feel of a historic country home with modern design. Tong worked with the Drake team and chief executive officer Jeff Stober to create “a cheeky nod to ‘rustic Canadiana’,” while incorporating original elements from the building.

The inn also has a games room with glass walls and a barn-like pavilion for special events.

Each guestroom features a mix of vintage and custom crafted furniture, a quote from Al Purdy, the late poet from nearby Wooler, ON, and a mural created by Canadian artist Rick Leong.

“We’ve worked really hard to incorporate a number of classic Drake elements, whether cultural, artistic, design- or service-focused, and we think that our customers will agree it’s been well worth the wait,” Stober said in a release.

While open for business, the “Drake-by-the-lake” will celebrate its grand opening and first summer season in spring 2015 after finishing touches are completed throughout the fall and winter.