Discover more from The Accidental VP by Susan Smythe-Bishop
Making a Splash with the Creekside Café
A very welcome addition to the Wellington landscape
It was a warm March afternoon as I stood in the heart of Wellington, Prince Edward County (PEC), waiting to be let inside the charming Creekside Café. The café was closed for the afternoon, but the owners, Elisha Andrewsky and Cheynelle Fraser, agreed to meet with me so I could hear their story - more specifically, the origin story for their lovely Creekside Café.
The first time I entered this popular brunch spot many months before, I couldn’t help but smile. The stylish interior is an eclectic mix of authentic Parisian French bistro chairs, punched tin ceilings, a bold mix of wallpapers, hardwood floors throughout (with some interesting tile inlays) and a focal point of four stunning majestic chandeliers, centred above the bar and heavily adorned with mother-of-pearl water droplet-shaped ornaments, perhaps a nod to their close proximity to the creek and lake.
The space very much suits their personal vibe and original intention, which was to create a warm and inviting space to fill the aching void of a place to gather for brunch in Wellington.
Like many here in The County – Elisha and Cheynelle were drawn to PEC from somewhere else…
Elisha was born and raised in Whitehorse and moved to Victoria in 1998 to attend performing arts school. From there, she landed in Vancouver where she would eventually meet her future husband, Mark. Later - while spending time with his family in Montreal, a close friend who was working at a local winery encouraged them to visit the area - so they did, many times. One thing led to another, they decided to put down their own roots here and in 2014 - Elisha was offered a position at the newly christened Drake Devonshire Hotel. This is where she met her future friend and business partner, Cheynelle Fraser.
Cheynelle’s route here was a little bit more direct. She (along with her husband, Eli, and two young children in tow) was lured to PEC directly through The Drake. Originally from Burlington, Ontario, Cheynelle started working with the Drake in Toronto in 2008 and continued to do so for several years before accepting the position of Food & Beverages Manager as part of the opening management team of the Drake Devonshire. Her friendship with Elisha blossomed shortly after they met and it seems as though their fate was sealed!
Throughout the most tumultuous and challenging periods of the pandemic, Cheynelle was laid off a frustrating three times and by that point – Elisha (after returning from maternity leave) was working in management at her husband’s wonderful new business, Midtown Brewery, which he launched in 2017 with Paul “Spike” Lees. While she loved Midtown - they both mused about starting their own business together someday, and that day arrived when the former Pomodoro space became available and they seized the opportunity.
With several years of industry experience between the two of them, and heaps of passion for the business – in March of 2022, they opened what is now the beloved Creekside Café, a welcome addition to the Wellington landscape.
On my first visit to the café, I tried their fantastic Creekside Benny, a dreamy marriage of poached eggs + peameal bacon that I honestly thought was a pork chop when it arrived!! Both rested on a melt-in-your-mouth potato stack served with a creamy hollandaise. It was unique, decadent and soooooo delicious. I mean - just look at this image below…
On my second visit, I devoured the Creekside Chicken Club - truly the best club sandwich that I’ve ever had. It was comprised of BBQ spiced chicken, lettuce, tomato jam (tomato jam!), bacon + aioli. I typically can’t finish an entire club sandwich but there was zero evidence that it ever existed by the time I was done.
On both occasions, I also very much enjoyed a non-alcoholic Paloma Fizz (rosemary, grapefruit and soda) which I would highly recommend. Actually - it’s safe to assume that anything and everything on the menu is great. Kudos to Chef Remy Perron and his sous chef Brent Morris for putting your own magical spin on these classic dishes – they really are special. You can take a look at their other gorgeous menu offerings here.
Working in the food + hospitality industry is not for the faint of heart. The hours are long (especially if you are raising small children as these two are), customers can be demanding and if you identify as female – there still are a WHOLE lotta sexist issues that you may be faced with.
During our conversation, neither had any complaints about their most recent work experiences, but the idea of being able to control their own destiny - that is what appealed to them most about starting their own business.
Catering to the brunch crowd has allowed them to set hours that work for them, and from a management/leadership perspective – Cheynelle and Elisha both concur that running their own business affords them the opportunity to lead in a way that they would want and expect to be led – with positivity, kindness and respect. I suspected as much from my prior experiences visiting the café as there is always a warm and welcoming vibe when you walk through the front door. Knowing that the temperament of a business typically comes from the top, I felt inspired to do this piece.
As our conversation started to wind down - Elisha mentioned that some guys have actually commented to her husband, in a nudge, nudge - wink, wink kind of way, that they assumed he was backing this new venture, as if to imply that she and Cheynelle would not be capable of doing this on their own. How infuriating is THAT?!?
NEWS FLASH: Fact - women are clearly AND OBVIOUSLY capable of doing remarkable things!
All one has to do is take a quick glance around Wellington – you can’t possibly miss the abundance of remarkable female power players including those who head up La Condessa, Piccolina, Karlo Estates, Biglake Arts, The Renaissance Farm and now Creekside Café - just to name a few. And that’s just in Wellington! Cheynelle and Elisha are in GREAT company.
In addition to the café, they also manage the Creekside Suites – two gorgeous vacation rentals above the café. It is SUCH a fantastic location if you are planning on visiting the area, I would for sure consider them.
Creekside Café (+ Suites) is located at 280 Wellington Main Street in Prince Edward County, Ontario. Follow them on Instagram or visit their website for hours of operation, details on suite rentals or just to study their delicious menu in detail!!
Cheers to you, Elisha and Cheynelle. Thank you for creating such a deliciously welcoming space and congratulations to you both on this wonderful endeavour. You didn’t just fill a void, you filled it brilliantly 😊
I am a very proud supporter of THRIVE Prince Edward County - a community-led development of a collaborative vision for the future of Prince Edward County. For more information on this initiative, please visit www.thrivepec.ca