Thrill of “The Chill”: a Bistro sees its business booming in Geraldton

Time to ‘Chill’ out
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Geraldton’s newest restaurant is a hit with local residents and travellers on Highway 11 in Northwestern Ontario.

There’s a ‘chill’ in Geraldton, Ontario that’s got folks talking, and it has nothing to do with the weather. Chill on the Corner Bar and Grill is a cool dining establishment that has visitors and the locals raving about the good food and good times. For owners, Corinne and Angelo Bartolotta, it’s a lifelong dream fulfilled; for Greenstone Economic Development Corporation it’s a recipe for business success.

“When a vacant restaurant was listed for sale in 2009, the Bartolotta’s came to us with a plan,” says Sylvie Goulet, Business Development Officer with Greenstone CFDC. “Their track record as successful entrepreneurs in Geraldton, plus their vision for a unique restaurant experience made them an excellent fit for our services.” With a business loan in place, the Bartolotta’s set to work updating and renovating the restaurant’s kitchen and dining area. With a much-needed facelift inside and out, plus a wheel-chair accessible entrance way, Chill on the Corner Bar and Grill opened its door in 2010.

“The goal was to turn that traditional restaurant experience into a little bit more,” says Corinne Bartolotta. “We enhanced the surroundings, expanded the menu and we have a dynamic staff that strongly believes in customer service.” That’s where Renee Belisle comes into the picture. As a former caterer, her hospitality background has helped to make “The Chill” a popular destination for the dinner crowd, such that reservations are recommended. “The accent is always on fresh,” says Renee. “With a broader selection of fresh-grilled meats, pastas and salads, our meals can be a bit of a culinary event.” Certainly if this week’s special at The Chill is any indication. How about: ‘Caramel Apple Pork Chops’?

What’s Cooking?
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Owner Corinne Bartolotta and Renee Belisle, Manager of Chill on the Corner Bar and Grill, now offer a catering service through the restaurant to businesses and residents in the Geraldton area.

With its emphasis on good food and good service, The Chill has been warmly embraced by a community that enjoys a great night out. “Our staff treat customers very well and its amazing to see how attached they’ve become to the restaurant,” says Renee. “We have an electronic newsletter that goes out to over 100 members for their feedback and ideas, and out-of-town visitors write wonderful comments in our guest book.”

Clearly, the Town of Geraldton has an appetite for a quality dining establishment and the Bartolotta’s are pleased the local CFDC was able to assist in their venture. In fact, the couple is looking at a restaurant expansion down the line. “Greenstone not only helped with financing,” says Corinne Bartolotta, “they are always there with good advice or to help us with our business plan.”

Greenstone Economic Development Corporation is one of 24 not-for-profit Community Futures Development Corporations in Northern Ontario funded by FedNor. It offers business advice, workshops and commercial financing to entrepreneurs and those looking to start a business in the Greenstone area. Next time you find yourself visiting Geraldton, drop by Chill on the Corner Bar and Grill and try those Caramel Apple Pork Chops.

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