BY LINDSAY BRISCOE
Red Lake’s iconic Lakeview Restaurant – the area’s downtown meeting place for the past 80 plus years – switched hands this week, but will be staying in the “Red Lake family.”
Carol McPherson took possession on June 2. Mcpherson’s father, John, ran the restaurant between 1972 and 1992 (with about a year under other ownership during that time), and McPherson basically grew up waiting tables and hanging out around the pilots, entrepreneurs and other patrons who frequented the business.
“I started when I was 11. By the time I was 13, my parents would leave and I would run the restaurant by myself. I did it all…” McPherson said in an interview with The Northern Sun News.
She says she loved being around the restaurant and says it taught her most everything she knows about running a business and that it also made her who she is today.
“It’s the people. It’s the town. It was just always home.”
She says the staff that came through the doors of the Lakeview over the years was a fundamental part of the restaurant’s identity and success too.
Red Laker and “legendary waitress,” Nettie Moskwa, for example, worked there for over 20 years and was well known for being able to perfectly balance sweetness with attitude.
“She was known as someone who would always smile, was incredibly efficient, and never in a foul mood,” reads Lakeview Restaurant Memories: Through the Decades, a book compiled by locals and available at the Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre. “One had to beware of this vixen however. Her sweet smile and puppy dog eyes could con you into buying anything on that menu!”
McPherson says she’s ready to build upon the solid staff that’s already there and is looking forward to working with head cook Jason Clayfield, who’s been in the kitchen for six years.
“That’s going to help us keep the consistency of the food because he’s been there for so long. He’s actually the key person in all this… He’ll be the head cook and will help run the back and will help hire the kitchen staff.”
As for the menu, McPherson says diners can expect the regular favourites like borscht on Fridays, chicken dumpling soup on Saturdays, as well as Helen’s famous perogies, because she’s well aware: “that’s serious stuff.”
There will be some new additions to the menu (particularly in the breakfast category), but also for dinner, with rotisserie chicken and ribs being the specialty.
McPherson says aside from a little TLC to the café tables, she plans to keep the inside of the restaurant as is since she knows just how sentimental locals are about the little piece of Red Lake history.
Former Lakeview owners and operators, Grace and Pearl Fleming, are looking forward to their next adventures.
“Pearl and I are very thankful for all of the support we have received from the community and our loyal customers!” says Grace Fleming. “We have such great family and friends who have helped us along the way…we wish Carol and her family all the best!”