by Michael Abbey
At Eldon’s on the east side of Bank Street just shy of Second Avenue, I met with a very enthusiastic pair of owners in a pleasant milieu. I was welcomed by a ramp that for the time being provides wheelchair access to a bright storefront. I met Marhlee Gaudet, co-owner, and we were soon joined by co-owner Cory Baird. Gaudet is originally from Toronto and Baird’s background is in eastern Ontario, with his formative years in Kanata.
“The Glebe is a really beautiful neighbourhood, a nice little pocket of Ottawa,” was Gaudet’s first response to my question, “Why the Glebe?” She believes “the community itself shares our values. They not only understand what we’re doing, they appreciate it.”
Added Baird, “the core values… trying to make tomorrow more sustainable. There’s more to food than just going to the grocery store.” Bonding with the community is a lasting quality for a new business. A set of Baird’s grandparents lived in the Glebe, so this stretch of Bank Street is part of his psyche. Gaudet saw a parallel universe – Roncesvalles in Toronto where she grew up – and the vibrant community of the Glebe. Throughout our chat they kept finishing each other’s sentences – close business partners with their heads in the same place.
Eldon’s has been open about two months. From the get-go they were determined to be on Bank Street to be able to take advantage of the heavy foot traffic that the area is famous for.
Everything related to the kitchen is in Baird’s arena and he is the chef. They have bilingual staff, a must for this area of eastern Ontario.
Wisely, their website points out that their menu is seasonal and is populated with a tempting range of quality fare, much of it organic. The brunch menu is written in plain English, a quality that I enjoyed as I, for one, get alienated by fancy names for ingredients that I do not understand. They mentioned their chicken and dumplings as a fan favourite, conjuring up yummy thoughts, while their pickerel offering is popular too. Beets and barley or charred carrots with lentils are examples of their bountiful dedication to veggies.
Nothing is deep fried. For Eldon’s, it’s all about cast iron and natural gas appliances.
Gaudet mentioned that outside of the local growing season they serve up more root vegetables, which opens additional opportunities for merchants in the area. “During those months we stay local and we preserve fruits when they are in season for use during the cold winter months.”
The pair have established one of many alliances with a local firm called Creative Mornings Ottawa, which features food from Eldon’s at their inspirational breakfast speaker series. Adds Gaudet, “Our relationships and partnerships are pretty close with the farmers.” Said Baird, “You can speak to the lady on the farm. You can hear the passion in her.” The foundation of the relationships Eldon’s has with farmers in the area is a combination of quality and enthusiasm that, when rolled together, form a core value for the restaurant.
The owners appreciate the contact with and assistance they have had from the Glebe BIA and found their help wading through municipal red tape invaluable. Eldon’s price point is attractive to their younger clientele, especially those offerings under $15.
Baird and Gaudet are well on their way to establishing Eldon’s as a member of a lasting Glebe business community. Their commitment to the health and well-being of their clientele is evident. Bon appetit!
Michael Abbey is a retired high-tech professional and bridge enthusiast who writes about business for the Glebe Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
775 Bank St.
Tuesday to Saturday: brunch 9 a.m.–2 p.m.;
dinner 5–10 p.m.; coffee all day, 9 a.m.–10 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m.–3 p.m.