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Tuesday, 11 October 2016 16:07

Historic Train Station to be Fine Dining Restaurant

Historic Train Station to be Fine Dining Restaurant Kelsey Dunbar - Wingham Advance Times

By Kelsey Dunbar
Advance Times Staff 

WINGHAM – The railway arrived in Wingham as a link between Kincardine and Listowel. The stop in Wingham included a train station and wood frame bridge that was constructed between 1872 -74.

Today, the bridge and old train station are still standing, although serving different purposes. The train station has served the community in several ways – but this time it will be a fine dining restaurant that will complement its stature.

“I want to push the boundaries. We have a lot of great restaurants, but this building is able to welcome something so much more,” Josephine Godfrey, owner of Anchor pubs in Wingham and Listowel, said. “I want to put (the building) back to its glory days and let people enjoy it again.”

Godfrey and her team, including Doug Kuyvenhoven who is spearheading the construction aspects, are aiming to have The Station Restaurant open and operational by May 1, 2017.

Although the building is already wheelchair compliant and to code, there is still a lot of work to be done. Some of the challenges will be the construction of a 40 foot by 20 foot addition on the east side of the building which will house the kitchen; construction of a patio wrapping around the front and east side of the building; remodeling of two bathrooms and the addition of a third bathroom.

The community can expect to see construction of the addition before the end of the year as well as a seamless match to the old charm exterior finishes on the building.

“It’s not a renovation, it will be more remodeling and change of décor,” Godfrey said.

She said a major challenge will be trying to find the right décor to match her traditional European vision, as well as matching the building’s history as a train station.

“I want to get a few clocks to show several different time zones from all over the world, because it was a train station after all,” Godfrey said. 

DÉCOR

A bar will be added to the entryway of the building, with comfortable seating in the loft upstairs. The loft will house a dry bar, which will provide bottle service as well as wine and scotch tastings.

Godfrey envisions holding events with jazz music to give the loft a lounge-like feel.

On either side of the entryway will be two intimate and privat e dining rooms with another larger private room just off the main dining space. Godfrey’s seating plans estimate that the restaurant will be able to seat 40 guests, not including the private dining spaces and patio.  

Around the east side and approaching the front of the building, Godfrey plans to create an outdoor patio for guests to enjoy. The patio will offer additional seating in the warmer season and is far enough away from the street so traffic won’t be too loud while enjoying a cup of afternoon tea or prosecco.

“I want to put the grand back into this building,” Godfrey said. 

FOOD

Godfrey is no stranger to providing great service but she wants to push the boundaries and give Huron County something new.

“It’s going to be a challenge in some ways but my vision is top class service using the finest ingredients that we can source locally and using as much as we can,” she said. “We have great farmers all around us, why not use them?”

Godfrey said she wants to turn back the clock to how the restaurant business used to be; A time when the chef would get up early, go around and collect the foods from the farmers markets that were in season, then make up a menu for the week based on what is in season.

Godfrey plans to still use larger services for foods, but will base her menu around what is in season.

“I want to go back to that, I think it benefits everyone and you’re getting the finest ingredients on the table,” she said. “The food right on our doorstep is usually better quality than those we could have shipped in.” 

BACKGROUND

Godfrey trained to be a chef in England, and worked in several restaurants and hotels overseas. Godfrey and her family moved to Wingham 11 years ago from England.

She owns and operates two pubs located in Wingham and Listowel and plans to continue to run those businesses with the addition of The Station Restaurant.

In her original vision, she had planned on being the chef for this new endeavor, but realized she didn’t want to step away from the pub businesses just yet. Godfrey has brought on a sous chef who will take charge in the day-to-day duties, however the menu and a lot of the services will be provided by Godfrey.

“It is a community building and certainly in the first few weeks, we will be holding a community event. But this is also a community building, everyone sees it that way and we plan to host fundraiser nights, once in awhile, where donations from profits will be made to local causes. We do want to give back.”

A website, blog and social media pages are in the works so the community can stay involved in the process leading up to opening night.

“When I look at my career, for me, this will be the pinnacle of my career,” Godfrey said. “This is what I trained for … This is where I saw myself all those years ago when I first went off to chef school.” 

CUTLINE:

Historic CharmLooking to put the grand back in the historic Wingham train station is Doug Kuyvenhoven (left) and Josephine Godfrey (right). The duo has taken on the project of converting the train station into a fine dining restaurant and are planning to open May 1, 2017.

Kelsey Dunbar photo

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 October 2016 16:14