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Janet Etherington, Cellar Pub & Grill - Elora Fergus Podcast (Ep 06)

In this episode, Elora Fergus Podcast host Ryan Joyce chats with the Janet Etherington, owner of The Cellar Pub & Grill in Elora. We discuss what changes are expected, why the two swans will be missing this year and what changes Janet expects moving forward.

On this episode

  • Janet discusses the community support during COVID-19

  • What changes does Janet expect to see at The Cellar Pub and other local area restaurants

  • Why the two Elora swans are missing this year (and what're their names?)

  • Culinary skills and activities ideas for parents

  • Does Janet pass the Scottish Litmus test?

  • and more!

Listen below to Elora Fergus Podcast Episode with Janet Etherington, owner of The Cellar Pub & Grill

The Cellar Pub & Grill

The Cellar Pub & Grill

13 Mill St. E., Elora ON


Watch Clip:

"How is the support from Elora and Fergus during COVID-19"

About The Cellar Grill

The Cellar Restaurant in Elora is owned and operated by Janet Etherington. She was born and raised in Centre Wellington and loves being an entrepreneur in such a wonderful community.  It has always been Janet’s ambition to own her own restaurant, and now into her 10th year, she has proven she can handle this tough business.  The Cellar’s theme is true to its name and is decorated like a wine cellar of years gone by. The Cellar provides a warm and inviting atmosphere and is well known for its incredible outdoor patio overlooking the Grand River. You will likely see our Elora Swans floating by as you dine starting early summer. Inside or out, The Cellar is the perfect place for an anniversary, birthday, special date night, or just a gathering with friends.

The chef, Kevin Zuber, has created a delicious casual fine dining menu. He and Janet have been working together nearly 16 years and have an amazing work dynamic, more like family really.

The Cellar focuses on serving you an excellent, fresh, local, meal at an affordable price. Prime Rib is a specialty every Friday and Saturday night and the Chef provides daily features. Don’t miss All You Can Eat mussel night on the last Thursday of each month from May – Sept with singer/songwriter live music on the patio.

The Cellar also offers affordable accommodations for nightly guest to Elora. The suite features a king bed, full kitchen, fireplace, big screen TV and of course a gorgeous view of the Grand River. Booking the suite can be done at 519-362-9538

Audio Transcript with Janet Etherington

Ryan Joyce: And you wake up for your worst culinary nightmare and a new evil King or queen of Centre Wellington has banished one food item. Oh my gosh. One food item. Would you miss the most?

Janet Etherington: Uh, geez,

Ryan Joyce: We chatted just a little briefly before we use the recording here in a little bit of a nightmare technology wise. But I was, I was asking you about your, your interests in culinary and entrepreneurialship and restaurant tourism, all those big long words you're chatting about. Where, what would you describe your interests?

Janet Etherington: Well, I've always been front of house, um, been a server bartender basically all of my life. Uh, when the place was for sale, I jumped at the opportunity to buy it and I've been there for 10 years now. So basically running for the house and being a little entrepreneur and uh, yeah, it's, it's going really well.

Ryan Joyce: I can't believe it's been 10 years. That makes me feel old, but it's super congratulations. That's really great. What a time to be celebrating, you know, a tenure marker overtime. How was the response from the community during this?

Janet Etherington: I mean, it's amazing. We've had great communal support. A lot of people are really happy that we're back open for takeout, which we just started back up again last week. Kind of a bummer that we have all this nice weather and the patio isn't open yet, but hopefully it'll be soon. And uh, but now the community has been really great. Everybody's really, really happy that we're back open and showing a lot of support behind getting gift cards and uh, yeah, showing their love for sure.

Ryan Joyce: That's really great. Do you foresee any changes in the immediate future once we start reopening what to expect or

Janet Etherington: For us? Definitely spacing. We're going to have to, we're kind of lucky because we have mobile tables on the patio so we can distance them if needed. Um, I'm sure that guidelines, I'm, I'm just guessing, but we'll probably repeat, restricted at the star to be 25%, 50% capacity. Um, there's been some rumor, maybe talk of doing a pedestrian only kind of downtown, um, idea where we kind of like fall into the streets a little bit and, um, have that option to give that social missing thing allowance. Uh, which I think is a great idea. I mean, uh, there's going to be pros and cons to every idea. We're all just going to have to get used to it. Yeah. I think that we're like, we're just dying to get it. We're very lucky to have a patio, so we're just dying to get it.

Ryan Joyce: Yeah. You have such a great space with like tons of rooms. So it's in this scenario it's really great for you as long as the weather is as amazing. So here's hoping we have a great summer season, that's for sure. Um, what kind of projects have you been doing for the restaurant during this time?

Janet Etherington: Um, just some intro cosmetic stuff while we painted the kitchen. Um, lots of cleaning. Um, we, Chris has been really busy. My husband's a male, right? So he's super handy and fixing everything and uh, trying to do it as cheaply as possible because, you know, the cash flow isn't falling in. But, uh, uh, we did some cosmetic stuff inside too. We've, uh, we've got a couple of, we had a couple of dead trees outside, so opened up the back a bit and the River space is really nice, but that, uh, tree gone that wasn't, uh, wasn't alive anymore. So

Ryan Joyce: No, I said, how about, how about you personally? What kind of stuff are you doing to keep busy? Cause we all have a lot more time.

Janet Etherington: Oh yeah. Um, well lots of time with the dogs. My daughter's joked that she hasn't seen me in 10 years cause the restaurant, so she says so nice to see your mom again. Welcome home. Um, I've been making masks, um, cloth masks for first for sale for people and that's, uh, I've been putting logos and things on them, so that's been really fun. I just did a few for, um, heating and cooling company and Fergus the new fee and yeah, that'd be, that'd be fun. I think just because like you can't see a smile or you can't see like embrace personality. Um, so I thought maybe like an avatar or some like a logo or something will at least tell you. Yeah. So it's been fun. And um, we planted a garden and yeah, just something that I don't know, I thought I'd never ever get around to doing this year. And uh,

Ryan Joyce: How old are your daughters into, they have the same interests.

Janet Etherington: Yeah. One daughter, she's uh, 17 this year and um, she's, yeah, really good help. She's helped me out at the restaurant since she was about eight or nine, so yeah, she's, I don't know if she has the same interests, but uh, she's definitely a hard worker.

Ryan Joyce: Oh, that's great. That's super. A lot of people are staying home and obviously some people have to go work, but during this time a lot of people are trying to figure ways to keep busy and all the parents are teaching their kids culinary skills. Do you have any recommendations on, yeah, it's a good, good application. A good time. These are things that we all need. What are some, what are some things you, you think parents should be teaching their kids right now?

Janet Etherington: It's awesome. You know what, some kids come to me 16 years old and they have never touched a broom or a pair of tongs or anything. They, they, I had a kid once asked me, I said, Oh, just go sweep the floor. And he's like, what? And he had never slept. And it just, it just shocks me how, how little some of these kids know. So like to be home and spending time with mom and dad and um, you know, doing a lot of these things, you know, just get messy and have fun with it and you know, you're licking the beaters at home. It's okay. And uh, yeah, just to, just to get them excited about um, uh, doing, doing stuff like, like cooking and baking and not just making cookies and stuff, but you know, like making healthy foods and growing your own vegetables.

Ryan Joyce: That's what I was just going to say, growing a garden, that's, that's something I'm personally doing as well. I usually travel and I don't have that luxury, so I'm really looking for what are some of the, are you growing any vegetables or is it all

Janet Etherington: Our, where we're growing lots of stuff. Beets, kale, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, um, or some dill, cilantro, that kind of stuff.

Ryan Joyce: Now are you in any risk of those two swans coming up and eating all your vegetables?

Janet Etherington: Uh, no. We're not getting our swans this year. I know. So they're keeping the River low because they're working on the bridge and we're part of the, uh, Elora swan program. So, um, they thought it was best to keep our swans out of the river this year. I don't know if they're going to other bodies of water. Um, they may be just because that's more natural for them. Um, but I know that we're not getting them in the back, which is really tough to, it was a tough decision, tough to hear. But, um, the on Beyonce's amazing with the salons in the back of that and we treat them like pets. Like I have all these pictures and they come right up to the,

Ryan Joyce: What were their names? I was told her name once, but I couldn't, can't remember it. There are, there's two

Janet Etherington: There. We've had, um, there's a Gertrude and a nester and, uh, depends if I don't remember, I'll just call them like Burt and Ernie

Ryan Joyce: Right. Well, we went to high school together just two years ago, obviously not long ago. No, very, very short. In those short two years. What are some of the big points that have happened? Have you stayed local? Have you, what kind of

Janet Etherington: I have, yeah. Yeah. Um, I went to school in Niagara. I went to, um, hotel, restaurant admin, did the program there and uh, got pregnant. I had to come home and I came home and I've lived in, uh, in Fergus or Elora ever since then, like, you know, born and raised here and it's really home. And, um, we were fortunate enough before all the crazy spike happened with real estate, um, to buy a house up in Salem. So, um, we're happy to, to be, we were living above the restaurant, so it's kinda nice to not have that, you know,

Ryan Joyce: You know, a thing or two about being blocked by bridge construction, that's for sure. Thankfully the Salem bridge is now completely how is, how's the Badley bridge looking?

Janet Etherington: Uh, well I can't walk to the liquor store, so that's the main fall. Right. Otherwise we're just happy that they're still working on it during the coven, you know, everybody at the beginning was like, Oh, you know, the purchase is going to be such a hindrance to your business.

Ryan Joyce: Coven comes along, trumps my drink. Oh, okay. I've got a little bit of a local litmus test going on and this is only the first couple of episodes, so I know this is going to develop and change. So base, basic, basic, I guess I'm curious, have you ever eaten,

Janet Etherington: Hey Fergus? Yes. Okay. Have you ever cooked it? Not personally, no. Yeah. All right. Have you ever worn a kilt? Yes.

Ryan Joyce: Have you ever played or attempted to play a bagpipe? No. It looks very difficult.

Janet Etherington: Yeah. I was around some people who at the Scottish festival were, uh, playing with around with one end. It's hard. I didn't, it's like curling like you think it's easy, but you throw that rock and it's like, it shoots down there.

Ryan Joyce: That was probably the most Centre Wellington thing you could say. Um, and my last question is if when you brag about our communities that people that don't know about us, what is the one thing or trait or event that you usually mentioned first?

Janet Etherington: Um, obviously after second to, you know, mussel night at the Cellar on the patio on a Thursday. Um, there's so many things Ryan, like, uh, well I guess River Fest is kind of the first thing that comes to mind. Um, the brewery ziplining I mean that

Ryan Joyce: Was a great list. I lose a lot of us in one know more about this muscle thing. Tell, tell us more about this muscle event.

Janet Etherington: Do you all you can eat muscle night, Thursday nights last last,

Ryan Joyce: Oh, I thought this was like a, like a, like a muscles that wasn't quite the muscles that I was expecting. Maybe you should offer that night. That's a, yeah.

Janet Etherington: Um, mostly Facebook, Instagram. Uh, we try to stay pretty up to date. Uh, it's just my, it's a kind of a, you know, one man operation, well, shouldn't say that, but I do a lot of social media and um, uh, so it's tough to, to find the time to do it all the time, but definitely, uh, that way. Um, and we, we try to keep every, all the events and menus and everything that we have going on. Definitely. Yeah, three times a day. Sometimes I posted once a week.

Ryan Joyce: Kudos for you. It's tough to constantly post. I struggled with that greatly, so Janet it's been a pleasure chatting with you. Have a great rest of your day. Thanks so much.

Janet Etherington: Thank you so much for having me, Ryan.

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