Inn at the Forks to manage museum eatery

WINNIPEG—The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) will feature an on-site restaurant dedicated to serving local foods and following human rights principles such as fair trade sourcing and sustainability.

By Don Douloff

WINNIPEG—The Canadian Museum for Human
Rights (CMHR) will feature an on-site restaurant dedicated to serving
local foods and following human rights principles such as fair trade
sourcing and sustainability.

“We plan to exceed guests’
expectations of a museum restaurant,” said Ben Sparrow, general manager
of Inn at the Forks, which will manage the facility’s restaurant and
catering operations. The restaurant will open just before the museum,
which is expected to launch in the latter part of 2014, Sparrow told CLN.
Inn at the Forks is next door to the museum and both are located in the
Forks National Historic Site of Canada, a major Manitoba tourist
attraction.

The museum restaurant is designed to have a
“fast-casual feel with a fine-dining influence,” said Sparrow, who hopes
it will be a destination bistro. The menu will feature dishes such as
mussels and frites, pork-belly salads and “shared bites.”

Executive chef Barry Saunders.

Executive chef Barry Saunders.

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Ingredients
such as pickerel, chicken, beef, pork, vegetables and grains will be
sourced from Manitoba and seasonality will play a “huge part” in
determining the lineup of local foods represented, said Sparrow.

Heading
up the restaurant’s kitchen and catering service will be Inn at the
Forks’ executive chef Barry Saunders, who will bring the hotel’s
fine-dining approach to the museum’s foodservice operations, said
Sparrow. Average restaurant check is expected to be $17.

Initially,
the eatery will open for lunch, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with evenings
reserved for “special dinners” and themed events focused on cooking and
wine classes, said Sparrow. There are also potential plans to
investigate opening for Sunday brunch and regular dinner service, to
accompany the restaurant’s catering operation. Capable of hosting
sit-down meals for 400 and stand-up events for 1,500, CMHR is expected
to attract national and international conferences and events, according
to a release.

Design duties for the 1,400-square-foot
restaurant—to be located within one of the museum’s four massive, stone
“tree roots”—fell to Winnipeg’s Number TEN Architectural Group. The
space will incorporate raw concrete, neutral-toned walls and a colourful
“Planet Earth” ceiling feature.
Seating options will range from long, wooden communal tables to smaller group settings.

The
dining room will seat 70, with 100 seats on an outdoor patio. A
glowing, back-lit, white acrylic wine-bottle display will highlight the
area around the bar, which will serve local microbrews.

In
keeping with the theme of the facility—it’s the first museum solely
dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights,
according to a release—the restaurant will work with Ottawa-based
Fairtrade Canada to source products. As part of that program, the
restaurant will also work to educate customers on fair trade, said
Sparrow.

On the sustainability side, Inn at the Forks carries a
5 Green Key Eco-Rating from the Hotel Association of Canada and will
apply those ‘green’ practices to the CMHR’s foodservice program, said
Sparrow. Those eco-friendly practices include composting food waste,
printing menus on recycled paper and recycling glass, aluminum, steel
and paper products.