Two decades or so ago mission statements became the touchstone for big business. It does have value in defining companies’ character, and sharing what their operating principles are. “Changing your perception of dining, one experience at a time,” appears prominently on the Cedar Nest website.
It is a very appropriate tagline for this relaunched restaurant.
Suzette Peters, owner of The Cedar Nest demonstrates deep passion and isn’t afraid of hard work to make dreams and goals happen.
“The life of a restauranteur chose me. It takes a constant strive to do something better, something new, all in the name of pleasing guests. Coming from a quality driven career, continual improvement is front and centre. I am tenacious and stubborn, and I think those are two traits of any restauranteur.”
Remember restaurants are like icebergs; a lot goes on that is not seen.
“I fell in love with the creative side of cooking. The endless possibilities of flavour profiling, plating techniques, and the striving for perfection in all aspects of the dish took hold of me a few ago. I have the insatiable need to create.”
That creativity starts right with the name of the restaurant. Why the Cedar Nest?
“The name really came after a series of synchronicities to be honest. We had a very old, large cedar tree fall at our home just prior to our opening date. The perfect space was available for lease on Cedar Street. The Nest portion came because I’ve always wanted to create a space that people could feel cozy and warm in, a place of refuge or retreat,” shares Peters.
And, so it started. Now, it is renovated, refreshed and renewed. What led to this transformation?
“We began as a tiny little shabby-chic café, filled with trinkets, new and old. Tiny little tables, antique linens and items for sale. Known for our ever-changing décor, from season to season, selling giftware inside a café that catered to beloved lunch guests. It was beautiful, it really was.
“People’s jaws would drop when they would come in. We would know immediately when they were new customers by their initial reaction. And it was so pleasing to have built something that was straight from my own heart for the enjoyment of others.
“As a very small café, it was pleasurable. Then we expanded to double its size within the first year. It became busier and busier.”
She confides that it was the right thing at the right time. That was then; this is now.
“We reimagined a new, deep, sensual, and seductive Nest; the darker side of me I suppose you could say.”
What an amazing journey, and in a tough year, but Peters is intrepid. Doing it now may seem quite bold. Was it actually a perfect fit with these difficult times?
“It really couldn’t have worked out at a better moment for us to complete a full renovation during the January 2021 lockdown. Yet another beautiful synchronicity.
“With the restrictions and precautions of COVID-19 we needed to make a change to our dining room to keep our customers and staff safe. As well, with our previous décor and furnishing being antiques, we started to notice some serious wear and tear after four busy years in business, so with these factors in mind we decided to upgrade to something far superior and lush.
“Our new atmosphere is all about comfort and luxurious experiences for our guests. We have gained more space to allow for proper spacing between tables to offer our clients an intimate setting for the perfect date night.”
Fresh furnishings plus an expanded menu and a chef ready to step up to a challenge. What does the new menu look like?
“Our menus always reflect our philosophies. I want to change people’s perception of dining … I want them to be so amazed and surprised with their entire experience. Our chef — Mark Currier — truly is such a gifted individual. With his tenure in fine dining, and his drive to use locally sourced ingredients, being sustainability focused and supporting our northern farmers and foragers, we are unerringly progressive in our menu planning and execution.”
This makeover leads to a new vigor from the kitchen and the bill of fare. What has been added to the excitement?
“One of the most exciting additions I would say is the Magret breast of duck. It’s a Muscovy Peking mix and comes from the Moulard hybrid. Rich without a gamey accent,” Currier said. “My kitchen is very limited as to what I can serve so this acts as a red meat option while paying homage to my older days of being a chef on a duck farm.”
What have first clients said when they walked in? “They are surprised that ‘this’ is located in Sudbury! We have always tried to be cutting-edge in our concept, our unexpected décor and food flavour profiles, to excite people, to give them something different. I am an avid lover of the ‘wow’ factor.”
Peters, always the innovator, is ready to build more romance into downtown dining, and some evenings will feature a +19 after 8 p.m. club ambiance.
“The new Cedar Nest is a sexy and sultry, high-end fine-dining restaurant that offers some very modern gastronomy curl on classic French cuisine. We are about offering our customers a distinctive dining experience that will change their perception of conventional hospitality. We have a dress code in effect that encourages all of our guests to rise to the occasion, dress for success, and bring back some old school, respectful dining etiquette. It’s time! Sudbury needs something with a modern twist, something more urban, with out-of-this-world freshly prepared food. It all just fits.”
New to the North, Currier is excited by the flavours of the North.
“When I think of the North I think of a broad landscape of opportunities. Many ingredients used on our menu over the course of the last year reflect that, such as evergreens, wintergreen, wild mushrooms, blueberries and Manitoulin trout. We also have great regional farmers and food purveyors who add to our menu with their passionate products.
“We want to bring as much of our local terroir to the table. It’s important to highlight the abundance of sustainable wild food in the area. Foraging is a big part and hopefully just the start. I definitely want the menu to celebrate that. We believe in the union of nature’s bounty, local farms, and forest to food concepts for endless creativity and exquisite cuisine. You most definitely will see seasonal selections. I believe in my heart the best way to honour food is to cook with ingredients when nature dictates.”
I asked Currier what I should have to eat on my first visit.
“I think the beet salad for an appetizer. Only because this dish in particular offers an array of cooking techniques. Smoking, pickling, dehydrating, deep frying and molecular. For the main, I would suggest our braised lamb shank. As the cooler weather ends, it’s days will be numbered. Comfort food … have it now. it’s braised in olive and served with cauliflower polenta, olive streusel and crispy Brussels sprout leaves.“ Let’s not talk dessert! I’m sold.
Well Sue Peters, time for the last few words.
“We are so thrilled to be open once again under this new, fun, vibe-dining atmosphere with cocktails and fine wines to please all.”
You bet this will be a downtown destination.
The Cedar Nest
11 Cedar St
Tel: (705) 561-5925
Tues - Wed: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Thurs - Sat: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. -10 p.m.
Sunday / Monday - Closed
Hugh Kruzel is a committed foodie and a freelance writer in Greater Sudbury. Let’s Eat is made possible by our Community Leaders Program. Are you an advertiser? Learn more about our Community Leaders Program here.