A small taste of ACU’s foodie members
We have some of the best credit union members in all of Manitoba, including some that make the most tantalizing brunch, lunch, dinner, snacks and culinary experiences that you’ll have in our province!
At ACU, we believe in people, planet and prosperity. I am grateful for our business members, as they bring so many flavours to our community. Big or small, they all contribute to our diverse local community, they create local jobs for Manitobans, and they help to create a vibrant economy within the kind of province we want to live in and work in.
As a back-office employee, rarely do I get a glimpse of the work that our business members do on a daily basis. But while on a recent photoshoot, it was a real treat when I was able to meet some of our members in the food industry — seeing what it takes to make their businesses run, and most importantly, getting to sample some of the delicious outputs of that hard work!
Here are five of our wonderful foodie members:
1. Oh Doughnuts
If you haven’t yet experienced a doughnut from this Winnipeg bakery, then Oh-MG try one…you will not be disappointed!
Owner-operator of Oh Doughnuts, Amanda Kinden, began her business with an idea to make specialty doughnuts. Back in 2014, she started delivering doughnuts to local coffee shops, and demand grew from there. Two years later, Amanda focused her energy on opening a storefront, and that original idea has now turned it into a thriving local business.
So what goes into the Oh Doughnut recipe?
Like many of our members, Amanda shares ACU’s values of supporting other businesses in the province. She purchases many ingredients locally, including organic flour from Prairie Flour Mills in Elie, organic eggs from Nature’s Farm in Steinbach, and butter from Notre Dame Creamery in Notre Dame de Lourdes. Nationally, she also uses Camino fair trade, organic chocolate.
Now with two locations in Winnipeg— one on Broadway and the other on Taylor Avenue — Amanda makes these decadent doughnuts fresh daily, with the exception of the ‘CrOhnut,’ which is only available on Thursdays and Fridays.
Jeffrey Patteson, Community Account Manager at ACU, has seen the shop grow over the years. “I helped Amanda by providing her with financing options for her second location on Taylor Ave. I was impressed with how quickly Oh Doughnuts had grown from its first location on Broadway and could easily see the need for additional space to continue satisfying gourmet doughnut cravings from hungry Winnipeggers!”Jeffrey Patteson |Community Account Manager at ACU’s Community Financial Centre
Amanda also uses her doughnut-making superpowers for good, and to create positive change in the community. As on example, on “Giving Tuesday,” the shop offered a $5 voucher to any customer who gave a donation to the Green Action Centre. Having worked there prior to starting Oh Doughnuts, the organization is near and dear to Amanda, as it focuses on “green commuting, composting and waste reduction, sustainable living and resource conservation.” The Green Action Centre also runs Compost Winnipeg, which picks up the organic food waste at Oh Doughnuts. And as for all the frying oil from those delicious desserts? Well, that also gets picked up to be refined and used as biofuel.
When it comes to the sweet output of all this hard work, Jeffrey is also a fan. “Whenever I go to an Oh Doughnuts location, I’m always impressed with the variety and quality of her products. Speaking of which, I need to get down there soon to try the new Dunkaroos flavour!”
If your mouth is watering for a gourmet bite, I highly recommend treating yourself to this delicious treat.
Related: Learn how to Compost at home
What??? An olive oil tasting bar, complete with an olive oil sommelier? That’s correct. Walking into the Regent Avenue location of Frescolio, I had no idea what to expect, and was surprised to see a store packed with stainless steel drums — each filled with olive oil on tap!
Like most olive oil newbies, I really didn’t think there could be such a difference between good and not so good olive oil…until I tasted the Frescolio difference.
That difference? For an oil to be legitimately called “extra-virgin,” it must meet several international criteria such as means of production, chemical makeup, purity and taste. Every oil at Frescolio exceeds these criteria. They bring in oils and vinegars from around the world, including Greece, Spain, Australia, Morocco, Chile and California.
Co-owners Michael and Lise, first became interested in the concept when they saw a similar store in Chicago in 2009. Just as I was when I entered Frescolio, the duo became instantly intrigued by the tasting bar at that Chicago store, and they knew they wanted to bring the concept to Winnipeg.
We were certain that Winnipeg’s ‘foodies’ would enjoy this approach and the superb oils and vinegars as much as we did,” said Michael.
This led Michael to become a certified olive oil sommelier — one of approximately 450 in all of North America. (In contrast, there are well over 4,000 oil sommeliers in Europe.)
For Lefteri Antonakis, Business Account Manager at ACU’s Business Financial Centre, he witnessed how this expertise has helped the business develop over the past couple of years. “From the very first moment I met Michael and his spouse, Lise, at a Chamber of Commerce event at their Corydon Ave location in 2018, I was impressed with his knowledge and credentials as an olive oil sommelier and passion as a small business owner,” Lefteri explained.Lefteri Antonakis, Business Account Manager at ACU’s Business Financial Centre
“The products Frescolio sells are top quality and taste amazing with such a large selection. Their staff provides information to customers on how to pair certain flavoured olive oils or flavoured balsamic vinegars with different meats and vegetables,” he remarked about the product line.
Jump to today, with Frescolio’s devoted fan base and new tasters coming into the stores every day, along with plenty of flavours to sample! In addition to the oils and vinegars, they also offer gourmet olives, specialty salts, jams, pasta, Smak Dab mustard and rubs from Metropolitan Chef.
Frescolio also offers a customer loyalty program as well as a bottle return program, taking into consideration the environmental side of the business. As part of this program, just bring your empty Frescolio bottles back to the store and they’ll provide a $0.75 credit for each one towards your next purchase. What happens with those bottles? They are sanitized and washed in their commercial dishwasher, then re-used for future Frescolio product.
In addition to selling products, they also host tasting events and open houses — a unique venue and experience for your next gathering. And if you’re looking for inspiration, they offer a ton of great recipes using their oils.
Clearly, there’s no stopping this brand. Lefteri agrees, saying that, “Frescolio has expanded to three locations in Winnipeg, providing convenience to their customers. As their Business Account Manager, all my experiences have been great and I would recommend Frescolio as the best retailer of flavoured olive oils and balsamic vinegars in Winnipeg.”
If you’re a foodie, and love to cook with top ingredients, then I would recommend checking out Frescolio.
Nestled on Broadway is Fools + Horses, a local coffee house serving up a wonderful atmosphere, great food and, most importantly, delicious java brews.
This quickly rooted fixture of the Winnipeg barista scene offers a full espresso menu that is precision-made on the ModBar espresso machine, featuring Pilot Coffee and a variety of rotating feature roasters. Coffee is freshly roasted and delivered weekly. The Broadway location also features beer, wine, whiskey and a food menu including pastries, toast, sandwiches, fresh bowls and soup.
What makes this shop stand out from the coffee crowd?
Fools + Horses is a different kind of coffee house — focused not just on financials, but also on the environment and their social impact. They do this by measuring and minimizing waste, while also re-investing back into green projects.
For co-owner Ben Gillies, the environmental side of things has been an important focus. “All of our ‘to-go’ items are compostable, and we’re shifting as much as we can to ‘omnidegradable’ products — ones that will break down anywhere, not just in a compost bin. We focus on reducing, then reusing, then composting, and finally recycling before sending items to landfill.”
Determining waste diversion is a bit tricky, but from the baseline we used (what studies show an average coffee shop would generate in waste), we believe we have diverted about 87% of our waste from the landfill,” Ben explained.
Speaking to the future of their environmental initiatives, Ben added that, “We also purchase Gold Standard carbon offsets, and while we are not currently carbon neutral, our goal is to achieve this objective within the next two years.”
On the social impact side, they also pay a living wage and work with other entrepreneurs to build a more prosperous community. As a potential employer, they encourage everyone to apply regardless of colour, gender identity or ethnicity.
Further, they provide a home for culture and conversation after hours, striving to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.
If you’re in the neighbourhood, stop by for a drink and a snack. And remember that in addition to serving up coffee, food and a great atmosphere to get in some remote work (cue the laptops), Fools + Horses is also a great place to host your next arts and cultural event.
I’ve heard people talk about the Silver Heights Restaurant for many years, referring like it’s their home away from home. Passing by it a couple times, I’ve taken notice of the sign, but had never actually been there to dine. Lucky for me, I finally made it to this iconic St. James restaurant.
Before heading out for lunch, I was told by a colleague and die-hard Silver Heights Restaurant fan, Kalyn Maskiw Connelly, to have the ribs. As she said, “they are the best in the city,” and based on that recommendation, I instantly knew my lunch order.
As I walked into the establishment, it was warm and inviting. The same for the food! Fortunately, the ribs did not disappoint. Tasty was an understatement, and as for the portion size, you certainly won’t leave hungry!
Famous for those very ribs, the Silver Heights Restaurant has been a local institution for over 60 years, having opened their doors in 1957. Brothers Tony and J.C. Siwicki continue to operate their family’s restaurant and have turned it into one of the most popular eateries in the city — along with the lounge, which is a “classic neighbourhood bar.”
Three generations later, they keep serving up great dishes and dining experiences. If you haven’t been, take the bull by the horns and give it a try.
5. Miss Browns
Nestled in the exchange is a little eatery that you simply must try. From the moment you walk into Miss Browns (Hot Pressed Sandwich & Coffee Co), it feels charming and authentic, with its rustic bistro décor. A woodpile sits off in the corner, the aroma of wood smoke in the air, subway tile from floor to ceiling, music playing in the background, and the activity of a bustling kitchen alongside the highly knowledgeable baristas who are ready to press out warm coffee aromas.
Owners Steve and Jenny Tyrrell create these delicious vibes and pride themselves on creating the “best possible fresh handcrafted breakfast, sandwiches and coffee.”
I had the Miss Browns Egg Bennie — best I’ve ever had — featuring two poached eggs, smoked ham, house hollandaise sauce, hash browns and a really great cup of joe.
That order is seconded by Jeffrey Patteson, Community Account Manager at ACU’s Community Financial Centre. “I like Miss Browns restaurant for a lot of reasons. For example, they smoke their locally procured meat on-premises, support the local business community, offer catering services, and their food tastes really good! One of my personal favourites is the Egg Benny Roll.”
Jeffrey continued, saying, “As the Account Manager for Miss Browns, I have enjoyed working with the Tyrrells from when they first approached ACU for business start-up financing, to helping them with their recent expansion to Hargrave Street Market (in True North Square). This newly opened location offers some familiar and some unique items compared to their Old Market Square location, and I encourage you to check them out!”
To Steve and Jenny, the dining and tasting experience go hand-in-hand. “Drawing on our experience from Sydney Australia, it is our goal to share our knowledge and passion for food and coffee with our Winnipeg customers. We source out the best coffee roasters and equipment to handcraft each cup to order,” Steve explained.
Now with the two locations — the original in the Exchange District at 288 William Avenue and their new location at Hargrave Street Market — Miss Browns is a perfect spot to stop when you’re craving a unique eatery and a flavour-packed bite.
Manitoba foodie heaven
There’s no doubt our city and province are filled with talented chefs, restaurant operators and foodie professionals. With all the options, the places to try out will be endless. Be sure to add these ACU business member experiences to your list!
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