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Making meals great

Abe Miller Summer Cafe helps raise money for centre

Angela Wilson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 07/02) - The Abe Miller Summer Cafe is more than just a nice place to stop and eat outdoors and it's time people knew it, says the executive director of the Yellowknife Association for Community Living.

"We do have indoor seating," says Lani Cooke. "Most people think it's only outdoors. We have such good food. More and more people are now aware of the Summer Cafe and have discovered what a lovely place it is to have lunch. There's a real emphasis on providing people with a nutritious and delicious lunch."

The Summer Cafe, located next to the Abe Miller Centre on 53rd Street, has been operational since the summer of 1994. The cafe is only open through the summer months of June, July, and August between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays.

The idea of keeping the cafe open year round is something that has been talked about for years, but is not necessarily something that will come to be says Cooke.

"We talk about it all the time," she says. "(The volunteer board) is a bit nervous about being open year round. We're not sure it's financially feasible."

Overall, business has been good this year, says Cooke, but there are factors which hamper sales.

"Business fluctuates due to weather," she says, adding that a lot of people aren't aware the Summer Cafe offers indoor seating as well as outdoor.

Cooke says the cafe is committed to offering good, healthy food to their customers.

"Sato from The Office restaurant has been helping us with developing our menu and helping us to be cost effective," she says. "It's a pleasant atmosphere with good food and it's unique with the staff being people with disabilities."

Cooke stresses the workers at the cafe are paid a regular wage.

"It's a job just like any other job" she says. "And people with disabilities are learning food preparation skills."

The Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority pays part of the wages for the cook and support workers while the wages for the waitresses and waiters comes from the sale of the restaurant food.

This year, the Summer Cafe decided to expand its ability to provide excellent food, says Cooke, by providing a catering service all year round.

"So far, we've catered a wedding, city hall meetings, and open houses," says Cooke.