EDITOR’S NOTE: The following, which is part of an ongoing monthly feature, was submitted by Gwen Zwicker.
SACKVILLE, N.B. – In the heart of downtown Sackville, Alan Barbour and Sarah Evans are the owners of The Black Duck Café.
It has a cozy and welcoming feel and prides itself on freshness and healthiness in its selection of food and drink.
“Our menu is seasonal and flows with the garden and farmers market,” says Sarah. “We make everything fresh in house.” And that does include everything – from the ketchup to bacon.
Having visited Sackville on several occasions and participated in Sappyfest, Alan and Sarah moved from Halifax in 2012.
“Sackville is a great location and has that kind of old-style downtown we love,” says Sarah.
The Black Duck Café opened in the fall of 2012. Sarah says they had a keen interest in coffee and wanted to create a café as a place for people in the community to come together.
Working with Java Blend Coffee Roasters in Halifax, Alan and Sarah began serving organic and fair trade coffees and teas. Later renovating the back section of the café, which doubled the seating area, they added food – all-day breakfast and lunch served 364 days/year.
The Black Duck’s menu offers something for everyone, from children to seniors. Much of the food is locally sourced and made on the premises. Take-out and eat-in is available. The menu offers an assortment of all-day breakfasts, full, hot lunches, soups and salads, and Sunday brunch. There are always fresh-baked goods including bread. You will find daily and weekly specials, along with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
“We have clients of all ages, both locally and from Moncton and other areas who make a visit to us an occasion,” says Sarah. This, in turn, allows visitors to drop in to other shops downtown.
In the warmer months, the café has a garden which supplies the kitchen with fruits and vegetables. Sarah says they focus on healthy and vegetable-based choices for their menu, which offers a varied selection and seasonal goodies.
Sarah is very proud of her staff. She says they are all full-time and all work well as a team. There is always ongoing training to find new and perhaps better ways of doing things. Staff also receive competitive wages and have access to medical and dental benefits.
“If one of our staff is going to be moving, for example, we know well enough in advance so that we can advertise for a new member of our team. We have been able to attract very good staff members over the past few years,” she says.
What are some of the challenges? Sarah says getting people to come downtown to experience what there is to offer is perhaps the biggest.
“It would be nice if there was a way to advertise the downtown (or Sackville Centre) as a rest from travel on the highway; people could take a walk through the Waterfowl Park, enjoy the Bill Johnstone park with their children, have a nice lunch and visit the downtown shops. We do see some highway traffic, but it would always be good to attract more,” she says.
She adds the busiest time for them is during the summer and, although the Mount Allison students are a component of their customers, they are not the largest group she sees.
As for future plans, Sarah says they do not have plans to expand their physical space, preferring to keep the cozy atmosphere they have along with the ability to serve fresh and healthy food choices. They may add some events, including garden parties during the summer season.
“It has been a very positive 2018; we have a great team and a great environment,” says Sarah.
The Black Duck Café is located at 19 Bridge St., Sackville. It is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can call them at (506) 536-8084 or email at email@example.com. Take a look at their menu offerings at: www.theblackduck.ca.The Black Duck Café is wheelchair accessible.