Along with the big news that Stillwater Ales founder Brian Strumke will soon be opening his own bar in Canton came with the equally big news that his partner in the business, which will be called Of Love and Regret, is Ted Stelzenmuller, the chef/owner of Canton's beloved Jack's Bistro. Brian's sister, Brenda Strumke, is the establishment's owner.
(If you haven't heard about Of Love and Regret, Erik Maza has all of the details on Midnight Sun.)
As Stelzenmuller begins to focus on opening OLaR, he will be keeping one foot in Jack's Bistro. But he won't be at Jack's full time. Stelzenmuller admitted that deciding to move ahead with the new venture wasn't easy. "It was a big concern," he said. "That weighs on my mind. How will (this) affect Jack's Bistro. But I wouldn't do it if I wasn't confident."
Although he plans to be in Jack's kitchen on Friday and Saturday nights, Stelzenmuller will be entrusting much of the daily running of Jack's to Dave Munyon, who has been with the restaurant for a few years. "He knows everything that I know, and he feels the same way I do about food. If I didn't have the right people in the right places, I wouldn't have done it," said Stelzenmuller, who said that he's passed up other opportunities in the past.
As for the cuisine at OLaR, which will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, Stelzenmuller says it will focus on quality ingredients but with a different attitude about technique than diners at Jack's are used to. Not so flashy.
Stelzenmuller and Strumke have teamed up before, for several Stillwater beer dinners that were held at Jack's Bistro. (Strumke was an early customer of the Canton restaurant.) "I'm excited to work with Brian's product," the chef said. "We're always going to have something that he's brewed. Specials are going to reflect what's just been shipped back to the country."