Maple Inn sets the standard for fine dining

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Today, Prince Edward County is renowned for its many exceptional restaurants and cafes, but 75 years ago there was only one, Bloomfield’s Maple Inn. Bloomfield – The Story of a Village, a book compiled by Barbara Fisher, indicates that this famous restaurant opened on a village farmhouse built around 1810 on Easter Sunday 1944.

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Its owner, George Channell, a former Bloomfield cheesemaker, had always loved to cook. His skills as a chef quickly began to attract clients from as far away as Toronto and Montreal. Fisher notes that in the 1970s Prince Andrew (the Duke of York), who attended school in Lakefield, dined there.

Over time, Channell and his wife, Florence, have made several improvements to their restaurant. Maple Inn’s front porch has been closed off to create a seating area for guests waiting for their tables. Years later, a large dining room was added to the house, increasing the capacity to 140 people.

Printed menus were never distributed, Fisher wrote. Instead, the restaurant’s young waitresses (usually local high school students) recited a variety of meal choices to diners. All meals were freshly prepared, using local produce where possible. The desserts, described as “succulent”, were made from locally grown fruit.

Maple Inn celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1969, with extended hours of service, bodices for its female guests, and keepsakes for male customers. At that time, the restaurant had long been known as the place where residents of Prince Edward County marked their special occasions. Receptions for many of the county brides have been held here, as well as countless birthday and anniversary celebrations. Visiting parents were treated to meals at the Maple Inn and tourists often appreciated its hospitality.

After more than 30 years of providing fine dining to the public, in 1975 the Channells sold the inn to Juergen and Monika Papiest, who managed it until 1984, when Bob and Lisa Howard became the new owners. . It later changed hands again, when it was sold to Heinz and Janey Haas. With each change of ownership, Maple Inn was given a new name. It became The Maple Inn Restaurant, The Maples Restaurant and, finally, simply The Maples.

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On March 7, 1992, the popular Bloomfield restaurant was reduced to ashes, its proud history being all that remained. A small part of the local history had disappeared.

Now, many exceptional restaurants with renowned chefs have opened in the county, several of them in Bloomfield. The once relatively common practice of opening small restaurants in what were once private homes is gone. But in Bloomfield Village, there is one exception. Bullfrogs, a small cafe-restaurant opened in a former private house, serves large numbers of tourists and local residents each year. Known for its delicious pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, its menu is very different from that of Maple Inn, but there is a similarity. Meals are freshly prepared and served in a welcoming atmosphere. Here, guests can enjoy a Demorestville Club, a Waupoos breakfast, or a Cherry Valley hot dog. Not just another restaurant, its charm lies in its family setting, the friendliness of the staff and special attention to the preparation of meals. While lacking the formality and gourmet fare of Maple Inn, Bullfrogs takes fast food to a new level.

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