Member Profile: Wild Caraway Restaurant and Rooms

 

Nestled in the heart of Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia, Sarah Griebel and Andrew Aitken have turned their shared culinary dreams into a celebrated reality. Their restaurant, Wild Caraway Restaurant & Rooms, has not only captured the hearts and taste buds of its patrons but also recently received the 2023 Restaurant of the Year award in last year’s Taste of Nova Scotia Awards.

“It’s really wonderful to be recognized considering how long we’ve been doing this,” said Sarah, co-owner and manager.

“After 15 years, you know it hasn’t all led to nothing,” adds co-owner and chef Andrew. “It helps fill your tank and keeps [us] doing what we love to do.”

Both Andrew and Sarah’s approach to hospitality is as warm and inviting as the restaurant itself, which is housed in a charming old building. The intimate setting of Wild Caraway fosters a level of personalized hospitality that’s the hallmark of maritime culture. Visitors are often reminded of a beloved family home. Both Andrew and Sarah agree this was the goal when they opened their doors back in 2009. 

It was important to them to create a space for anyone and everyone to come as they are. Andrew says whether its someone pulling up in a luxury car, or a fisherman in search of a hearty meal still rocking his gumboots, the Wild Caraway is there to welcome you.

“We want someone to come have have the best meal in the most relaxed way,” said Andrew. 

Their team is small but mighty, with only two other staff members besides Sarah and Andrew. But that’s how they like to operate – with passionate collaboration.

Everything we do, we have the smallest crew. We just don’t know any different,” said Andrew. 

Their hands-on involvement is shown in every aspect of their business—from greeting guests and housing them to cooking and foraging for the restaurant.

A photo of Chef Andrew Aitkens of Wild Caraway Restaurant& Café.

Wild Caraway’s menu is a testament to Andrew and Sarah’s dedication to sourcing local ingredients. The dishes are crafted with a deep respect for seasonal produce, often featuring freshly caught seafood, herbs from their garden, and wild edibles foraged from the surrounding wilderness.

While not everything is harvested or foraged by their hands, they get what they can from local farmers and fisheries to showcase all the land here has to offer.

It’s a real snapshot of time and place,” said Andrew. “It’s nice that someone can come from Switzerland and have a sorbet made from the sorrels from our yard or a dish with fiddleheads or chanterelles that were foraged three to seven kilometres from our restaurant.”

Each plate is a work of art, designed to highlight both the flavours and textures of the ingredients. The ever-evolving menu ensures that every visit offers a new culinary experience.

Photo credit: Wild Caraway

In addition to the restaurant, Wild Caraway has added new cottages this year for those wishing to immerse themselves in the beauty of Advocate Harbour. The decor blends rustic charm with modern amenities and with glassware hand crafted by Sarah herself.

“We’re looking to replace all our ceramics with ones that Sarah has made over a four-year period,” said Andrew. 

“To enjoy both the food and the dish or platform that comes to you is something Andrew and I always value when we dine somewhere. It’s a unique and elevated experience,” adds Sarah.  

Andrew and Sarah haven’t shown any signs of slowing down, with prospects of crafting more ceramics from whats found at the Bay of Fundy and Andrew hoping to get into more woodworking for furniture now he’s done building cottages.

Whether it’s your first time or have become a regular, visiting Wild Caraway is much like dropping by an old friends. Both Andrew and Sarah agree that their guests have often become like family.

“When we welcomed Elora into our family last year, I can’t tell you how many gifts and cards we received congratulating us,” says Sarah.

“It was so special to see,” said Andrew. “As well, many times people will remind us they’ve been coming since 2010 and still remember the meal they had then.”

Wild Caraway Restaurant and Rooms is more than just a place to eat and rest, it’s a destination that captures the genuine taste of Nova Scotia’s coastal culture and warmth. Whether you’re looking to indulge in exquisite cuisine or a traveller seeking a peaceful retreat, Wild Caraway offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return.

“We’re certainly giving it our all, said Andrew. “We’re still doing it all the way out here and want to continue to achieve the consistency of the business where it stands. This brings us joy.” 


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