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Cascades Casino chef aims for best overall menu in North Bay

'We plan to have a lot of sporting events and have a really good sound system with 16 TVs in addition to a 110-inch projection TV'

The chef at the new Cascades Casino has his sights set high as the facility readies for a soft opening this Wednesday at 5 p.m.

MATCH Eatery & Public House chef Steve Strom tells BayToday that the kitchen in the facility is so state of the art, it will allow him to create the "best overall menu" in North Bay.

"I think it's the best menu north of Barrie," Strom says with enthusiasm. 

Strom has plenty of experience, starting with Grandview in Huntsville and moving over to Deerhurst during the G8 meeting of world leaders in June 2010. He's cooked in Yukon, northern Quebec, Labrador, and South America.

"I was right in the middle of the Amazon doing a remote camp there. We were there to introduce safe cooking and health measures."

He's bringing that experience to North Bay.

"My curries are amazing. I got all kinds of different ideas!"

The modern kitchen will allow Strom flexibility in meeting customer demands when people need something special made for them. He says 85 per cent of everything is being made in-house.

"If they have dietary concerns or things they just can't eat, we are able to accommodate and give them a fantastic meal. I make my own ponzu (a Japanese dipping sauce) that has all kinds of stuff in it. Most people buy it in a jug. We're actually making it ourselves. We're doing our own pizza, a pulled- beef which is being slow-braised overnight, and our own ribs, so it's an incredible menu."

Strom is most proud of the restaurant's ribs and pulled pork.

"They'll stand out because they'll be cooked overnight. There are so many little steps involved. The ribs themselves take several hours of braising, which is done in our new combi ovens. It's a combination of dry and moist heat to get that perfect braising. Then we roast it with our own made-in-house barbecue sauce."

James Sweeney is the General Manager of Food and Beverage at Cascades and expects it will be a whole new experience for people.

"We've put a lot of money and time into this. We have a beautiful 79 seat heated patio outside with gas fireplaces. We even have misters that spray cold water when it gets hot in the summertime."

The doors open up accordion-style so diners will have full access to the entertainment inside, which holds about 225 people.

"We plan to have a lot of sporting events and a really good sound system with 16 TVs in addition to a 110-inch projection TV."

The company is partnered with the NFL, and will carry numerous other sporting events including UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). Sweeney also says he plans to put an emphasis on hiring local musical talent to entertain.

Popular local musician Peter Cliche will be the first act to play the venue. on Friday the 11th, Roadhouse will entertain on a special St Patrick’s Day event and bluesman Jake Thomas will also appear in the near future.

Sweeney is encouraging local bands to contact him if they would like to perform, saying the restaurant would like to attract as much local musical talent as it can

'We're very much interested in doing a lot of live music, we feel that North Bay has lost that in the last few years. We have the casino on the other side but if you're not interested in that you can certainly enjoy our live bands, or do both."

Although you have to be 18 to enter the casino, the restaurant and patio are all-age family-friendly.

You can also get a drink in the restaurant and walk freely into the casino.

"That's one of the defining features of the gaming brand in all our casinos is that you're not just limited at the amenities," explains Rob Mitchell, Director, Communications. "The 18 year and older rule only applies to the gaming floor so families can come in and enjoy the patio and so on. We're fully licenced so you can freely move between locations. It's not just exclusively gaming."

The casino portion has 300 slot machines, six tables and 10 virtual tables.

At the end of the casino is the Summit Bar which will service the gaming floor. There is also floor service, and pop and coffee are available.

"You can go over to the gaming floor, have a beer there, then walk over to The Match with your beer and watch the band playing or a sports game on. Basically, it's just an open concept area that you can walk around in and enjoy."

The casino will operate from 10 to 2 a.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday at 300 Pinewood Park Dr, 

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Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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