Ontarios Best Restaurant Bijou Thilo Wolsey, Russell Black, Nick Mustard, Nick Kralovensky, Jake Silani, Christina Piele, Justine Thompson
Welcome to Bijou
Bijou is the ideal venue for a romantic, pre-theatre dinner. The décor is modern, and simple. The service staff are friendly, familiar and inviting. The constantly changing chalkboard menu offers fun, simple seasonal food. A real gem to be found.
Aaron writes the menus, chalkboard that changes as often as he desires according the availability of ingredients. Two or three course menus generally priced at $40 to $50, respectively.
Cooks food that he likes to eat
Accenting the natural flavor of each ingredient without being confined to a specific technique or style
Significantly influenced by Neil Baxter (did a stage with Paul Bertolli, inspired by the freshness of his cuisine)
Admires Joel Robuchon's attention to detail
Despite how the kitchen space limits their cooking methods, it forces them to be more creative.
Aaron and Bronwyn Linley
Aaron advertises in theater and menu guide. He used to advertise in the Beacon Herald obituary section because he assumed that was the only section people in a small town read. He also has Twitter. He relies mostly on word-of-mouth though.
More tourists then anyone else, most money is made during tourist season slightly higher income level
40-60 years old, disposable income
Educated, married couples
Come from the Toronto area, or the U.S. such as Detroit or New York
Saucy and sexier plays are beginning to attract a newer, younger clientele
More theater goers rather then people just coming to eat, part of the dinner-and-a-movie package
Linley was quoted as saying, " Anyone with a credit card“
The customers have a need to enjoy the finer things in life
To be entertained
They don't eat a bijou to be seen (as it is out of the public eye) they simply come to enjoy the good food and Stratford’s culture.
Expectations Regarding Service
Customers expect quality food for the price they are paying
Friendly , casual service
To be recognized and acknowledged. Guests expect to feel as if they are part of an extended family.
Guests expect their meal to be prepared quickly in order to make it to the theater on time.
The exterior sign was designed by a friend who is a copper and metal graphics designer. The “j” in Bijou features jewel to reinforce the restaurants name.
Frosted window facing main street
A large black slate offers a constantly changing seasonal menu.
Leather bound embossed menus
Aspects of Service
Type of staff: Young and lively individuals who have become a tight-knit community of friends. Many have worked at the restaurant since they were younger.
Staff uniform: No determined uniform. Males are required to wear black pants and a collared shirt and women are permitted to dress appropriately, as long as they are comfortable and stylish.
Style of service: Youthful and engaging. They are knowledgeable about the menu and especially about the wine.
Attitudes/expectations of staff: To have fun and make money.
Space Planning Seating capacity: 50
Roughed-up wood floors
Silvers, brass, copper and grays
Metallic gray and pale yellow walls
Large windows with shutters
Frosted windows facing the main street allow privacy when dining
Iron gate at front entrance
Duct running along length of restaurant
Metallic gray sheets of drywall contrast against pale yellow and add dimension to the space
Shimmery gray curtains
Walls are decorated with many of Hazel and Liams original artwork
Many of the restaurants decorations are old theater props to create a dramatic feeling
Liam and Hazels original artwork is framed
Dark and romantic
Leather chairs outlined in dotted white thread
Blue wood backed banquettes with dark black and navy blue pattern
The tables are made from pieces of restored barnwood from St. Jacobs that were dyed with a dark stain.
Simple and modern with some inspirations from neo-victorian era
Schoolhouse lights (from previous owner)
Tube light chandeliers
Old fan converted into light
During the summer time there are lots of lights, and they dim then as the night goes on.
Whimsical bobbins hang from light fixtures
Tables are left bare
Large, sturdy white plates
Fine Riedel glassware
During the winter months small, inexpensive and hardy flower arrangements that will not wilt from the heat of candles or body temperature adorn the tables.
During the summer months, bright and colourful flower arrangements are purchased from a florist.
Displays of Food & Drink
No displays of food
Bar area in back of restaurant showcases wines from Ontario and pricey liquors.
The style of music varies is as diverse as each employees personality. Personal iPods are hooked up to the stereo system and play a selection of obscure folk and indie artists. Largely, the music is sourced from a mutual friend whose partner is a successful independent musician. The music is not only enchanting and pleasing but their lively rhythms set the pace of the service without feeling rushed. The clever selection of music unconsciously serves a higher purpose than just background noise. It sets a steady pace in order for the diners to be seated, order, eat and be on time for the theater.
Bijou restaurant offers a modern take on traditional French cooking methods by using fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients where ever possible.
Plating is influenced by traditional Bistro plating with refined ingredients and modern design.
Mains have the protein centered in the plate with vegetable combinations underneath and sauce underneath.
Beet Ravioli of Goat cheese with Cold Roast Duck Breast and duck Prosciutto
Seared Scallops with braised Fennel and Zucchini
General Atmosphere and Effect
Warm (Rich colours)
Inviting (Familiar faces)
Personal (Liam and Hazel’s artwork)
Cosy (Private room, along banquette, lovers cubby)