The Crew On May hopes to bring new flavour to Thunder Bay's south side
The owners of a new restaurant on the south side of Thunder Bay, Ont. are hoping their business could be part of an entertainment revival in the area.
A former pizzeria on South May Street has been transformed into The Crew On May, a bar and eatery notable for its warm wood decor and menu items like bannock burgers, and duck pizza.
"I was given free reign over the menu," said Derek Lankinen, a chef and one of three partners in the new venture, adding that there was one condition.
"My partner wanted to see the best Indian taco he's ever had in his life," he said.
"He seems fairly impressed so far. So that's good."
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Culinary experience put to use
Lankinen, who won Thunder Bay's top chef competition in 2013, and has also worked as head chef at The Foundry, said he was actually working at a mining camp in western Canada when he got the request to come back and help set up the new restaurant.
"I was in the middle of Alberta in a truck, driving," he said, "and one of my partners called me."
"And so he just wanted me to help him figure out what this place was going to be," he said.
Hoping for a south core revival
The entrepreneurs are also hoping the restaurant could be part of a larger transformation in Thunder Bay's south core neighbourhood, similar to the revival that's taken place near the city's north side waterfront.
"The entertainment district in Port Arthur is booming. Every one of those old buildings that was doing nothing four years ago — every one of them has a new interesting concept going in them," he said.
As someone who grew up on Thunder Bay's south side, he said he's glad to see more businesses opening on May Street.
The partners behind The Crew On May also have plans of their own to open a second business on the street in the near future, he said.