Flint Rocks! Flint House takes over kitchen at Fort Frances Curling Club

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

After starting the season without much available to eat, the Fort Frances Curling club has new cooks in the kitchen. Popular local restaurant, Flint House has taken over the space.

Flint House owner Duane Cridland says the Curling club approached him about filling the space.

“Long story short, when they were opening the season they approached us,” Cridland said. “They’ve had for a few years a couple different people do it and they asked us if we were interested.”

Cridland says after consulting with his daughters who work with him in the business that they needed to make sure the business could actually be successful if they ran the kitchen at the club.

Kitchen staff at Flint Rocks prep a spread for a Canadian Cancer Society fundraiser at the Fort Frances Curling Club earlier this week. The venue will be available to the curling crowd throughout the week, with the ability to host specialized functions. Flint House owner Duane Cridland saw the Flint Rocks venue as a way to retain its food truck staff through the winter months, and add new options for local diners. – Allan Bradbury photo

“We told them and we were very open and very honest early,” Cridland said. “We told them we can only do this if we can make money… So we told them we’ll give it a whirl but it’s going to take the membership themselves to make it successful.”

Cridland said the issue isn’t isolated to Fort Frances or the curling club.

“Golf clubs, tennis clubs and curling clubs all over small-town Ontario are having these kinds of difficulties,” Cridland added.

In hopes of making the partnership profitable, part of the deal that Flint House has with the Curling Club will see the restaurant able to host and cater events at the club over the summer.

“They’re going to give us access to the floor of the curling club in the summer,” Cridland said. “So we can do some events there because we’re a small place. So we said “we’ll make sure that you have good service in the winter and if it can break even with the membership in the winter and do well there over a couple nice functions in the summer I think that’d be a real good win-win for everybody.”

As far as the menu for Flint Rocks goes, manager Stacey Cridland says it will be kind of fluid.

“We have sandwiches and soup, we’re going to do quesadillas and salads,” Stacey said. “In the first week or so we’ve heard feedback so in the next week or so the menu is going to change again.”

Basic fried fare will also be available including french fries and onion rings. Stacey also said that there were repeated requests for sweet potato fries so those will be showing up on the menu soon as well.

“We’re really trying to get some feedback,” Stacey said. “Today is the second day of our second week so we’re really fresh in it and getting feedback.”

The hours of the kitchen will be based around when games are happening at the club. For those interested in curling but who are not currently in a curling league, the club is hosting fun curling nights on Fridays from Nov. 19 to Dec. 17 and the kitchen will be open. You can see more information on the Fort Frances Curling Club’s Facebook page.