Cody Northgrave shuffles from one steaming pan to the next as he hovers over the sizzling sounds of shrimp, steak and risotto.
The surf and turf dish he’s preparing is still popular eight years after first opening Take Five Bistro in the heart of Windsor’s popular Italian district.
Back in 2011, he and business partner Paul Sauve wanted to create a Chicago – or New York – style steakhouse. They found their home on Erie Street in a free-standing building that started out as a print shop and was later transformed into a jazz bar.
Creating an authentic atmosphere
To get the look they wanted, they resurrected tin ceiling tiles and an antique wooden bar from the shuttered buildings of Detroit. Sticking with the music theme, the partners borrowed their name from the Brubeck Quartet’s massive jazz hit Take Five.
“Originally, they had live music in here. They created an atmosphere no one else was doing in Windsor,” said manager Tanya Hedrick.
The restaurant has been a hit since the doors first swung open. Cody and Paul have swapped out live bands for a more subtle and carefully selected playlist. Otherwise, the vibe and room have stayed the same.
“We’ve done a small amount of renovations, but aside from that, the ambiance is kept as original as possible,” Cody explained.
Sourcing a local menu
Creating a carefully crafted menu was important for the partners as well. Delicately placing the steak and shrimp onto a plate, Cody explains the importance of providing meat and vegetables from Ontario farmers.
He and Paul go out of their way to ensure they have the freshest ingredients to pair with their intimate atmosphere. Their seafood is as fresh as possible as well, coming from Mediterranean Seafood just down the street.
The wine list has some of the finer Essex County wines as well, explained Tanya.
“It’s important for Cody and Paul to support our growers,” she said. “They’re from Windsor. They grew up here, they raised families here, so they’re very much of a part of that community.”
They’re also proud to be part of the Via Italia neighbourhood. Few areas in the city are as diverse as Erie Street in terms of the types of shops and restaurants, said Tanya, who has worked in the culinary industry for more than 20 years before joining the Take Five team.
“It’s one of the best-run BIAs I’ve ever seen,” she said. “There’s a lot of different shops, like La Stella or Bella Bridal, doing so well here. You really feel like you’re part of something special here.”