That the gastronomic scene in Sackville has reinvented itself over the past year is both a call to action and a celebration for those that appreciate gathering over food or drink. Since last winter, residents have seen the cultivation of a handful of restaurants catering to diverse palates – both for food and for styles of dining – and that’s a great thing.
Now, I will refrain from making any reviews here: The individual reader should relish the opportunity to adventure in what may be an uncharted landscape. But in doing so, consider that the importance of this is in the creation (and appreciation) of placehood. As Sackville’s food scene flowers with fresh richness, even the casual restaurant-goer will appreciate new techniques and cuisines. From Cranewood to the Coy Wolf, Napul’e to Song’s, our community houses enough artistry and skill to sate any palate.
Of course, placehood is not only made from the sweat on our restaurateurs’ brows: it requires an active audience—better yet, an audience that consciously resolves to celebrate, critique, and explore. It’s worth acknowledging that even these form our constituency to the Sackville food scene. With some degree of reflexivity, or perhaps of critical awareness, we can better understand our role in forming this community—and, reciprocally, the community’s role in shaping how we gather, dine, date, and so on.
The dissenting reader may acknowledge that, relative to the unencumbered glory that is a meal at McDonald’s, our tendency to dramatize the dinner out is unproductive. For example, passers-by can observe nervous couples sharing a first meal out through the windows of Joey’s: To some extent, the dinner date has become almost institutional in both its ubiquity and its importance in the timeline of our relationships. Certain kinds of dining rituals, as often happens, get coupled with the social motifs of our society (consider The Second Date, or Your Dad’s 52nd Birthday Celebration) such that these kinds of meals are seldom considered on non-ceremonial occasions.
However, these narratives still include the restaurant as a prominent figure—evidence of the community’s essentialness to our social lives. Even in the minutia of our affairs, the food scene has influence—whether we choose to pair Marx with a macchiato in our times of study, or to colour our weeknight pear crumble with fresh ginger (à la Coy Wolf).
Sackville’s cafés and restaurants become forums of place, artistry and communion. And, if we allow it, our conscious exploration, patronage and attention to these places builds us into our community, and gives the community a role in our formation as social beings.