Every so often you wander into a place that just instantly feels like home to you. This was the case for me, when I walked into Moose Jaw’s Kerganos.
A smallish place, with room for only 40 or so seats, the tantalizing smells hit you the moment you walk through the door, setting your mouth to watering.
Equally small is Kerganos menu, which may give some pause, used to as we are with the menus associated with larger chains that resemble full-length novels. Instead each item showcased on their menu, while small, stresses the freshness of it’s ingredients, and it’s homemade flare. From the bread they make each morning (sometimes with Baba’s help), to the fresh smoked meat, they smoke themselves with a tried and true method the owner learned from his grandfather. A family-theme that runs throughout the restaurant, seeing as it’s owned by the father/son duo of Tim and Tyco Huska.
It’s a theme that also extends to it’s staff – some of whom are related, and most of whom are not. That doesn’t stop them from being family though. It’s also a theme that seems to extend to everyone who walks through the door – and even though I don’t live in Moose Jaw, nor had I ever been in the restaurant before – it was one that extended to me and my dining companions as well.
So what’s so unique about Kerganos? I mean, lots of restaurants pride themselves on good food, but there are a few specific items that really sets them apart.
Call it what you will Kergano’s has it. Named in spirit after Joel Kergan, a dear friend of Tyco’s who died in a horrific accident. They didn’t want to name the restaurant in his honour, they wanted a restaurant that would honour what he was all about: Love, laughter, kindness, friendliness, and down to earth. You can even see it in their logo – a heart, a peace sign and the tree of life – all woven into one.
Tim and Tyco LOVE Food. No really. They LOVE it. So much so, that if you don’t like your food (which they’ll find out when they come out to chat with you), they’ll make you more – or something different – or invite you back on them – simply because they love food so much, they want to make sure you love what you eat there.
But more than just a passion for food – they have passion in everything they do, whether it’s going out to cut the red willow that they’re smoking your beef with, hydroponically growing vegetables in the basement, or cooking up a storm in their open kitchen (which has an open invitation for you to come and watch them as they create btw). Passion is genuine or it’s not – and here – it’s genuine.
One of the many things this pair are passionate about is trying to source as many things locally as possible. They’ve had people come into the restaurant and tell them they have extras leftover in their garden – and boom, they’ve bought the surplus so that they could integrate it into their menu. The meat is local, the produce is local (for as long as they can source it), and sometimes the “local” produce comes from their own basement. Even many of the wines are local from the Living Sky Winery, they get beer from Bushwackers in Regina, and they source their vodka from Lumsden at Last Mountain Distillery – people who they all say operate the same way they themselves do.
One of the unique features of Kerganos is the live music they offer. From scheduled concerts to their open mic Sundays, where chances are you’ll see your waiters/waitresses join in on the music-making fun. It’s yet another thing they’re passionate about!
If there’s one thing that Kerganos has it’s energy. Talk about your environmentally friendly power sources. I bet you could plug a power grid into Tyco alone and he could keep the City of Moose Jaw running for a month! And it’s infectious! Chat with Tyco or Tim for even a minute and you’ll be wanting to scale Mount Everest 10 seconds in.
How to Go Here: Located in Moose Jaw, just off of Main Street, it’s on High Street, just up from the new arena. Follow the map here.
71 High Street
Moose Jaw, Sask
Phone 306 692 3933
Gotta Go?: They’ve got the prettiest bathroom – tiny but true. It feels …sweet. Not an easy feat for a bathroom!
Good to Know:
- They encourage their serving staff to actually pull up a chair and chat with you – so don’t be surprised if they do!
- Their next concert is: July 18, 2012 – Featuring Scott Cook – but check out their website for the latest listings.
- Tyco is the brains/energy behind last weekend’s Freedom Fest – when I met him it was the weekend before and he was soooo pumped. I hope it all turned out – and if he hosts it again next year I’ll definitely have to #GoHere.
- Any and all who come and love what they’re doing at Kerganos is automatically a member of “Team Cool” – (I wonder if we’ll get t-shirts?).
- Never ones to rest – they’ve bought the building next door and are fixing it up – to have more music, and a coffee shop vibe – so look for The Rusty Bike soon.