Wednesday, October 12, 2016

D.D. Diner and Motel, Restaurant Review

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I was reminded of that problem when I visited D.D. Diner and Motel. Is it that people who are very good at what they do also create a relaxed, friendly atmosphere? Or do happy, friendly people create a workplace where they are not afraid to experiment and try new things, and that scientific approach helps them improve? Whatever the reason, I am talking about my visit to that restaurant you see your left as you drive out of town towards Welland, on Highway #3.   

The new owners, Francine and Gus Doslea seem to be on to such a good thing. After they purchased the establishment last September, they followed the tried and true rule for success in business, hire talented people, stand back and let them work. In this case, they hired weekend cook Reg Szikora and weekday cook Wendy Gloyd. Francine is also a cook, and her husband Gus is a server.  

I asked what they like about working there. Francine likes being able to work at home while taking care of her little great-niece Brynn. The cook Reg has broad experience, having worked many years for the Canadian military, in greenhouses, a pizza restaurant and, for the last twenty years, this very restaurant, through its succession of owners. "I can tell you this," he announces, "Of all the places I've ever worked, this is the best, under the present owners."  

I talked with Francine about the "hotel" part of D.D. Diner and Hotel. As a trained furniture designer, she has great plans for the décor in the rooms. Renovations are ongoing, refurnishing each room, and the plan is to include a kitchenette in each room. Outside, by the parking lot, she will create a rest area, picnic tables surrounded by a green, park-like setting. When everything is complete they plan to stage a grand opening, but that will not be for a while.  

For now, the big story is that we have a new restaurant in town. Last year, as Internet restaurant reviews attest, the truck stop was frankly becoming run down and neglected. When they took over, Francine set out to move the style of the eatery from a truck stop to more of a fine dining experience – although, she hastens to add, "We pay close attention to good value, keeping prices down as much as possible. For example, when we found a better price for coffee last year, we passed the savings on to the customer.  

As much as possible the cooks buy fresh, often with locally sourced produce from the Dunnville Farmer's Market, including LauRay Farms. Every weekend, Reg makes up a batch of fresh soup, with fresh noodles made from scratch. 

Every soup is unique, and he does not repeat himself. Needless to say, that soup surprise has become one of the most popular dishes on the D.D. Diner menu. Also popular is their all-day breakfast. When I asked what is the most frequently ordered dish, Francine said that would probably be the toasted Western sandwich, or the clubhouse sandwich. 

Myself, I ordered a fish and chips take-out, and I can say first hand, and my family agrees with me, that it was very fresh and tasty. I can hardly wait to find out what soup they will be cooking up next weekend.

Reg Szikora, Brynn and Francine Doslea
at the counter of D.D. Diner

Brynn peeks out the front window of D.D. Diner

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