Carl’s Eatery closed its doors at its downtown location of 325 Scott Street in June and will soon open at 862 Kings Highway, in the former Pizza Hut building.
“We have done enough clean up and a colour change so that it won’t feel like Pizza Hut,” vowed Carl Scott, chef and owner of the restaurant.
The first and only chef-owned and operated full service restaurant in the area, Scott noted the popularity of the establishment pushed him to expand his business to a larger space.
“There were some days I turned away more people than I fed,” he said, citing the former location housed seven full tables, while the new space has seating for 100 guests and 23 tables, featuring booths, open tables, and bench/chair combinations.
“I liked the idea of having a small place because it was a little bit safer in terms of control,” Scott admitted. “I always found if there was one or two [staff] in the kitchen and one or two up front, you are always on the same page all the time.”
But Scott felt he could offer much more in larger location.
“I originally wanted to open a small pizza place and I almost opened one in Manitoba and then we decided to move here,” he explained. “I looked at this place, but I didn’t want to open a huge, full service restaurant at that time.
“I wanted to build a core staff first.”
While much of the menu will remain the same, he will be offering some additions—most notably, pizza.
“It’s not a fast food pizza, although it will still be done efficiently,” Scott indicated. “My recipe is actually kind of an ancient recipe.
“It’s very basic,” he said. “You don’t have to add a lot of extra stuff. This is the way it was made 2,000 years ago, so there’s nothing wrong with it.”
Scott stressed the two main things are homemade dough and homemade sauce.
“That adds up to about 95 percent of a good pizza,” he voiced. “The rest is just cheese and toppings.”
Scott’s specialities will be “The Neapolitan” style from Naples, Italy, which features thin crust and soft edges, as well as the “The Sicilian” style, from Sicily, Italy, which showcases a thick crust that is crisp and airy.
“We have also created a selection of house specialty pizzas ... as well as a list of common and gourmet toppings for you to create your own pizza,” he said.
With more than 100 five-star reviews on Facebook, Scott feels the popularity of the restaurant stems from the quality of food he offers.
“Keep things simple and easy and for some reason it always tastes better,” he voiced. “I don’t cut corners; I just don’t go too elaborate with it.
“We make everything we can from scratch,” he added. “We always try to keep it healthy, fresh, and homemade.”
Being nestled among the local fast food joints, Scott feels he’s in one of the best locations in town.
“Everybody in town drives by at least twice a day, whether they live in the west end or not, they are often going out to the other places around,” he reasoned, citing the parking and signage for the location are also ideal.
Scott will be putting his “chef logo” on the existing sign and hopes people come to recognize it.
Plus, being near the high school he hopes to offer hungry teens another option.
“We’ll have popular items, like pizza, but also healthy options like salad and stuff like that,” he pointed out.
Scott stressed the new location will have a bit of an atmosphere change, since it will be less intimate, but it won’t change the type of food he is offering.
He will just be providing more variety.
“I want the soccer moms and other people on the run who are looking for a quick, inexpensive dinner to have a healthier, homemade choice,” he remarked. “It’s not lower end food, because it’s still high quality . . .
“From full fine-dining choices to cheese toast,” he chuckled, citing going to offer more family-oriented fare.
“But we’ll still have some gourmet items,” he reassured. “You can come out for your anniversary any day of the year and have something fancy, but at the same time someone sitting next to you is out with some kids having pizza.”
He has already applied for a liquor license for the new location.
Scott indicated he and some of his staff have been working hard to get Carl’s Eatery open as soon as possible.
Five weeks ago he started with a shovel and a wheelbarrow, cleaning up the parking lot and painting it, while the last four weeks have been spent sprucing up and preparing the interior.
They modified the interior colours by changing the table tops and booth backs, as well as painting the walls and lamp shades.
Scott also got rid of the old buffet table, although they still plan to offer a buffet.
He plans to run the buffet on either side of the space, with hot items on one side and cold items on the other.
They will be adding a display case for pastries and will be offering take out and delivery and, at lunchtime, pizza by the slice.
In the kitchen, Scott replaced the deep fryer with a stove top.
He’s thrilled to have much more kitchen space than in his previous location, which only offered one small work area.
Now Scott has room for a salad station, pasta station, cut station, build line for items going in the oven, a pastry area and a prep space.
He also has a walk-in freezer and walk-in cooler.
And now that he has more kitchen space, Scott wants to do more catering.
“It was difficult in the old space,” he expressed, adding the walk-in cooler and convection oven will be great for catering, whether people want to use the restaurant or have it in your backyard.
Plus, given the larger location, Scott will be adding to his staff of six by hiring servers, hostesses, counter personnel, delivery drivers, prep cooks, line cooks, and pastry cooks.
Meanwhile, local artist Penny Faragher will be displaying her art which will be for sale.
“We’ve been working hard and we’re nearly there,” Scott said, adding he’s aiming to be open before the end of August.
“The dining room is almost done,” he added. “We’re waiting for the last bit of equipment to be dialed in and last bit of plumbing to be completed.”
However, Scott stressed he doesn’t need to change the roof.
“The roof is an architectural design and the colour is red. There is no trademark on that. I just can’t use Pizza Hut’s red roof logo,” he explained.
For instance, where the “Pizza Hut” logo is on the doors, he’ll be replacing that with his own logo.
People can check out Scott’s progress by visiting “Carl’s Eatery” on Facebook.
Scott promises once the opening date is confirmed, it will be posted there, as well as on the sign outside the restaurant.