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Saturday November 25th, 2017

Posted at 10:00am

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Thyme Kitchen is a new gem downtown that will give you a feeling that is as homey as your own kitchen, with a chance to try something new.

Red Seal Chef and owner of not only Thyme Kitchen but also Thyme To-Go Julie Myers has jumped on to this venture of a second local restaurant. Along with her on this adventure is the Thyme Kitchen manager Ashley Crawford, and fellow Red Seal Chef Karen Salzer, who is the Executive Chef of the location.

Executive Chef Karen Salzer (left) stands with store owner Julie Myers (middle) and Thyme Kitchen Manager Ashley Crawford (right.)

The trio all grew up around the area — Julie grew up in Belle River, Ashley grew up in Harrow, and Karen was born and raised in Windsor.

Julie and Karen have known each other for over 10 years from working at the Windsor Yacht Club together, and both attended St. Clair College’s Culinary Program, and later went on to each obtain their Red Seals. Karen had been working out west for the past 4 years, and traveled around the world while practicing her culinary art, and has just recently returned to the area to begin this endeavor.

Ashley had moved out of Windsor for 10 years, and when she came back found her heart opened again to Windsor as she fell in love with the city all over again. “When I came back I realized I really grew back in my city. The art scene, the music scene…I was so happy to be back,” She explains.

“Most of all, I was impressed with the food scene! It had grown exponentially, and then I met Julie and saw what she was doing and gravitated to becoming her friend.” Ashley worked for Thyme To-Go serving at Willistead part-time, and is now taking her administrative background and love for people to now move on to being the manager of Thyme Kitchen.

“It was a really powerful process starting this place and starting this project,” Ashley explains. “It came to us at the perfect time. It took some time,” she shares with a laugh, “but we wanted everyone to feel at home here. When we think about home we think about our kitchen…where everyone comes together to talk and eat and be comfortable. We want them to feel like family, that’s a lot of the reason we have the shareable plates. Just to come take time out of the day to be together.”

Julie has found success and happiness since opening Thyme To-Go 6 years ago, doing prepared foods, catering, cafeteria food at Vistaprint and the catering for Willistead Manor. With all the experiences she has gained over the years and her interest in the downtown area, Thyme Kitchen was thought of and is now their dream come to life.

“We were ready to take on another venture,” Julie explains. “We were really impressed with the downtown area, so we researched where we wanted to be and the location fell in our lap. Ashley and I walked in and knew this was where we wanted to be; this was the spot for us. We’re excited to be here, it’s really up-and-coming and has been being revitalized. There’s a lot of great places that we’re excited to be here with.”

The dining experience at Thyme Kitchen offers for patrons to try something new, but still feel the comfort of a kitchen. While there are popular fan favorites such as classic breakfasts and sandwich options, there is a wide variety of unique options such as Indian Chicken and Waffles, Duck Confit Pierogies and Cinnamon Roll Pancakes. The Executive Chef, Karen, takes a lot of her inspiration from her culinary travels and puts a lot of what she has learned around the world in to the dishes.

In addition to the unique menu items, there are individual menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch and desserts. The dinner menu is a collection of shareable plates intended for customers to enjoy meals together and be able to try a bit of everything and truly experience the unique items of food.

“The whole shareable philosophy is how I enjoy eating, and is how I think you best experience not just the food, but best experience being with another human being,” Karen explains on the topic of the unique shareable dinner concept.

“The flavours of the food are inspired from throughout the world but with a modern-day twist. You can still have that comfort aspect that you’re at home in the kitchen while still trying something adventurous,” Karen explains while talking about the food Thyme Restaurant offers. “I like putting something things people love and are familiar with but adding something people might not have had so much, like our Tandoori Chicken and Waffles.

“A lot of our food is health inspired… a little bit different on the cutting-edge aspect but still familiar and definitely health-conscious. We do a lot of catering to gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian needs.”

It is important to the team at Thyme to provide a restaurant experience for everyone, no matter their allergies and needs, to not be afraid of ordering food. “We can accommodate for any allergy,” Karen explains. “For all menus we do everything from scratch; we like to keep standards very high and don’t use pre-packaged foods. We cook because we love it.”

Thyme Kitchen, in addition to the menus offered, also has prepared foods, baked goods, drinks as well as alcoholic drinks to offer. The establishment makes a point to utilize as much local product as possible, which goes from what goes in to the meals themselves down to the juices and drinks that are offered, such as the Craft Heads cold brew that can be found in the fridge for purchase.

The Kitchen is embracing the downtown core in full stride, already pursing doing events to showcase local Windsor talent. They would like to showcase not only just art and music, but people who make Windsor what it is by doing things such as talks from local business people.

There is always something new to try and do at Thyme Kitchen, with every last Sunday of the month being Vegan Night, and every Thursday features a $10 wine Flight Night.

Along with that, the establishment will be including special events throughout the year. Already planned is a New Year’s Eve party and a special Valentines Day dinner, as well as many other special events.

Thyme Kitchen is located at 100 Ouellette Avenue. Learn more and keep updated about what’s new on their Facebook page here.

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