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Reeling in the customers at Jocko Point Fish & Chips

'We’re working on building a seating area that will fit roughly 40 to 50 people. It should be completed probably towards the end of October'

If you have a craving for mouth-watering locally caught fish, look no further than Jocko Point Fish & Chips, located just off Hwy 17 between North Bay and Sturgeon Falls on Jocko Point Road.

This family-owned and operated business was established in 2008, and has grown from its humble beginnings.

“We actually did start as a little chip truck, and we’ve expanded quite a bit from there. So, in 2008 and 2009, we were in just a tiny chip truck, and then in 2010 we built our first actual chip stand with an actual kitchen and we’ve grown from there,” explained co-owner Abby McLeod.

“We were in it for quite a while and then this new building just opened its doors on August 29th of this year. So we just finished construction. It has been great. We have a lot more staff and everything is running quite smoothly. The fish comes from Lake Nipissing, all freshly caught,” said McLeod.

Don’t let the name fool you, there is a lot more to the menu than fish.

The extensive list includes burgers, poutine, chicken served in a variety of ways, wraps including pickerel wraps, pogos, cheese dogs and whistle dogs, chicken wings, and even pizza.

“All the Canadian classics you would expect from a chip stand,” grinned McLeod.

Appetizers include deep-fried pickles, mozza sticks, onion rings, mushroom caps, jalapeno poppers, and snake bites-spicy jalapeno breaded chicken bites.

“Everything we do here is all done by hand with the freshest ingredients. Our signature dish is definitely our pickerel fish and chip. Our four-piece dinner is pickerel with fresh cut French fries, cole slaw, and a drink,” explained McLeod.

It is a walk-up business where people place their food to go or phone in their orders.

There is no indoor seating space currently available, so most people enjoy eating their meal at one of the many picnic tables, or take it home.

But that will soon change once the construction of a new building is complete.

“We’re working on building a seating area that will fit roughly 40 to 50 people. It should be completed probably towards the end of October,” McLeod stated.

“We’ll then be open year round now. So this will be our first winter being open. It has been a long time coming, our customers have been asking for it for a very long time. We won’t be doing service, it will still be a walk-up and order and then they can take their food and eat indoors if they want.”

Which would be similar to the way many fast food restaurants operate.

The customer base is a mix of locals, and people travelling down the highway.

“We’re getting people from Sturgeon Falls, North Bay, people from Sudbury come specifically for the fish and chips, and a lot of travellers. This area is a big summer destination so we get people coming from all across the country really.”

McLeod explains how their product is different from some of their competitors.

“We don’t do the typical thick beer batter for fish. We really want the pickerel to shine through in the dish, so it is really just a light seasoning that we do and then we fry it that way, so it is not puffed up at all. It is really just the pickerel, and the seasoning is meant to compliment the pickerel.”

Located beside the chip stand is a shop for people looking for cool, sweet treats.

“We opened our ice cream shop in 2016 just to compliment our fish and chips, so you can get dinner and dessert and we usually have 44 different flavours of ice cream. We source our ice cream from the London Ice Cream Company down in London, Ontario,” said McLeod.

And the choices don’t stop there.

“We have soft ice cream and the 44 flavours are hard ice cream. So I think that is pretty unique. Not a lot of places sell hard ice cream anymore. So that’s a big attraction as well.”

The store tries to stick with the classic flavours, but they have had some “wild ones” in the past. For instance,  there was a dill pickle flavoured ice cream, and a Chicago mix inspired by popcorn which was a “cheesy and caramel” ice cream.

“That was interesting. Most of the time we get just the sweet ice creams, the savoury ones are not always the most popular.”

The ice cream shop will only remain open for a few more weeks, at least until the cold weather moves in.

McLeod is proud of everything they have to offer.

“We’re a small family business and we treat everybody like family here. We’re really all about customer service. This wouldn’t be possible without our customers so we like to see new faces and of course, our regulars who have been coming here for all these years.”

The restaurant is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. but that could be subject to change once winter arrives.