Kingston Heritage & Frontenac Gazette
Nothing but passion is behind the door of the Waterfall Café in Yarker. This unexpected eclectic foodie haven is nestled next to a tumbling waterfall, giving great joy and pleasure to many.
Years ago, owner/chef Eric De Poe discovered this gem and repurposed the historical site at 2810 County Road 6 as a labor of love.
“I am not a trained chef, but I’ve been cooking since I was twelve,” explains Eric. “It’s my Mother’s fault really…it all sparked one morning I had slept in and came downstairs demanding breakfast. She took one look at me and made it clear that I was left with the choice of going hungry, or cooking for myself. I’ve been cooking ever since,” he laughs.
A natural love of flavor and a keen interest in food carried through to his University days and beyond.
“I always wanted a restaurant. I would walk by the windows of one, and peer inside, full of ideas and with a dream of having my own one day.”
That fortuitous day arrived when he fell for the old charm of the tearoom, at the foothill of the waterfalls of the Napanee River.
Waterfall cafe is a short drive from many natural attractions such as camping, cottage country, geo-caching, and a rugged gorge experiencing lots of traffic from tourists and locals alike.
The story begins on a weekend break from the big city—Eric found what became a great love. Overnight in cottage country, one dark and stormy day, he crashed in on a real estate tour of the crumbling building. Something about the quaint space and the countryside enticed him to buy it. Totally unexpected, or was it?
Those early years, it was a one-man show. Eric worked a full week in Toronto and travelled to his little oasis to shop, chop, bake and wash the dishes at his little café. Living the dream as they say.
He enthusiastically tackled new recipes, expanding and learning the business.
His good fortune continued—he met the lovely Barbara Linds, also a busy executive and single-Mom living in Toronto. It was love, especially when she too fell for his charming café. Thankfully she also had a good sense of humour—for he claims what sealed the deal, was her passion for his tearoom.
On their wedding day, he jokingly recalled that when searching for a partner; the ad read: Intelligent man seeks intelligent and creative woman—must love tearoom! The two have been busy at the business ever since, working their day jobs and commuting to the café, until they finally relocated to Yarker.
“We hired a very talented design team to help re-construct a loft apartment upstairs and a huge mural (located on the outside wall) symbolizing the importance of this historical area,” says Barbara. “We engaged the community, meeting with it’s members for their input on what the mural should look like, and held a big celebration when it was done.”
Carolyn Butts & Hans Honegger of Bon ECO designs made a sculpture of wood, foam and tire strips to celebrate the industrial past.
Their efforts continued with the re-design of the loft, which is magazine worthy, styled as an urban Manhattan apartment, with natural light and views of the cascading waterfall below. The café runs on geo-thermal heating and cooling.
Sadly, this love story is coming to an end. (Not for Eric and Barbara, who even today, smiling, he brushes by her with a kiss). Their future continues with many exciting projects on the horizon. “Eric works expansively at everything,” smirks Barbara. “I can’t see him retiring anytime soon.”
But, it is time to close the doors of the Waterfall Café as they begin this new chapter. The café and two bedroom apartment is up for sale, or lease.
The delicious earth-friendly dine in/ take-out menu of home-style chicken and ribs, vegetarian stacks, salads, and homemade pies served with a smile—all creative visions of Eric De Poe.
“It’s been a slice!” said Eric, “I’ve loved cooking for you.”
The community and tourists will miss pub nights, jazz evenings, author readings and weekend stops at the Waterfall Café.
“We hope to pass this along to someone who will serve great food.” (A local chef, baker or individual interested in canning and in need of a commercial kitchen would benefit from this space.)
Chef Eric will continue to serve up Friday – Sunday, and holiday Monday’s until it closes on Labour Day. Drop in to say farewell, or take a peak inside…maybe it’s long been your dream to own a restaurant too? For more information about the Waterfall Café visit http://www.waterfallcafe.ca or call 613-377-1856.