Sometimes the REAL Newfoundland and Labrador gets lost in the shuffle of row houses and screech ins. Our hearts lie truly in the depths of rural Newfoundland, down by the water in the coziness of small, yet connected communities.
The Bonavista Social Club is a reminder of the centre of our province, small town, great food and a place to feel at home.
Located in the community of Upper Amherst Cove on the Bonavista Peninsula, Bonavista Social Club is owned and operated by Katie and Shane Hayes. At first glance, it seems to be a cozy restaurant with a few NL fixings but it is more of a food production.
Though food is served daily, homemade food and products are available for purchase. The Social Club also focuses on “farm gardens, animal husbandry and self-sufficient lifestyle presently at work in Upper Amherst Cove,” as stated in the website.
“By growing our food and butchering our animals, we are demonstrating what Newfoundlander’s have been doing their whole lives. This is not a new concept, just one that we all need to keep alive. Using local seafood and meat and hiring local people who are bringing their traditions and values is very important to us,” explained Katie Hayes, co-owner.
The whole operation of The Social Club is dependent on the resources and surroundings.
“We tailor the menu depending on what is being harvested daily and locals and tourists enjoy to rustic feel and garden to plate theme,” said the co-owner. It’s pretty satisfying to know that Newfoundland has the ability cook great feasts straight from the source, and when people all over the island share that talent, it opens up the doors to showcase our province’s great resources in a particular manner.
Places like the Social Club display Newfoundland’s unique sense of community, while offering wonderful delicatessens only available on this island. These businesses are a huge draw for visitors, as well as an integral part of our culture.
“Fortunately, the tourism industry in our area has been somewhat insulated from the government’s current fiscal situation. However, all the new taxes and government fees have been detrimental to the bottom line of our business. Small businesses are helping keep rural NL alive,” said Katie.
Katie is also one of the Chef’s behind the wheel or should we say, “behind the peel,” in this case. Especially since The Social Club holds the only commercial wood-fire bread oven on the island. (To those not in the culinary know, a peel is a wooden or metal tool, like a shovel used to slide loaves of bread and other items into and out of an oven. Man, that pun took WAY too much explaining and research).
The beautiful house is surrounded by their gardens and farms, which customers can visit before they enjoy their truly original and delicious meal. The Social Club is more of a learning experience that provides an understanding of sustainable culture, alongside delicious food.
“We wanted to be self-employed, self-sufficient and live rurally. I grew up here in Upper Amherst Cove, so returning to the established gardens and animals was a no brainer,” said the Chef.
So make your way to Upper Amherst Cove for an afternoon of fresh and delicious food, straight from the garden and farm, prepared in our province’s only wood-fire bread oven. Open from May to October, the Bonavista Social Club is an overall experience.