Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Supper in Stenen

First thing you see when you turn in to Stenen, Sask.

     “Want to come with us to Stenen for supper tonight? It’s an hour’s drive from our place, but there’s a good restaurant there.” It was Rick calling.

During seeding time it’s not often we get a chance to spend time with Rick and Faye, but as the fields are too wet to work in we rearranged our "busy" schedules in order to take the opportunity. I took Emil back to Aylesbury House before supper instead of after, and Scott abandoned his plan to go do some drywalling. At four o’clock we hopped into the half-ton and headed to Faye and Rick’s farmhouse about 20 minutes from here. After a quick cocktail at their kitchen table, our designated driver got behind the wheel of their vehicle and we headed northeast.

I hadn’t been out that way for several years, and then it had been in the winter, so really enjoyed the ride through the lush green countryside. The land is more heavily treed than right here around Wadena, and there is a lot of swamp, but it’s pretty country.

Stenen looks to be about the same size as Margo.
Over the past decade or two, a lot of small communities in Saskatchewan have lost their schools because of the trend toward centralization. It’s killing us out here, but the school boards are saving a dollar and that’s what seems to matter to them more than the welfare of students or the preferablity of not having to travel an hour or two every day. 

In Stenen, after their little school closed and the students started bussing to neighbouring towns for their education, someone bought and renovated the building into Rawhides, which is quite the going concern! We were shocked and very pleasantly surprised to walk through the doors and find an old school so lovingly, so beautifully repurposed. Not at all what we were expecting. They've done a beautiful job on it. 

The view from our table in Rawhide's restaurant
Faye gave me a little tour while we waited for our food. 
They've created separate sections so there is a room for games, with a pool table; there's a room with a cosy fireplace; there's a room with these booths, where we sat; there's another small room for quiet gatherings; and there's even a room set off from the others for VLTs so that the rest of the diners don't have to listen to the machines. And yet all the rooms are open to the others; the place isn't remotely like a rabbit warren. It's gorgeous. There is a little store that offers Rawhides' merchandise like bunnyhugs, hats and T-shirts, and while they have a TV with sports on the screen, not every client is forced to listen to it, as is the case with some restaurants — you think you're going out for a pleasant relaxing meal, but your ears are bombarded by sports on TV — well thanks, but no thanks.  

And the food at Rawhides is fantastic. It's not cheap; you'll pay what we call "city prices." But it's well worth it. Cooked to perfection, presented beautifully and quickly; somebody around there is a real chef, and the owners have done their homework. 

We checked out the guest book. People drive for many miles to go to this eatery, just as we did. It's a happenin' place!

Faye and Rick leaving Rawhides with full and satisfied bellies.
Here: TAKE A LITTLE TOUR of your own. I'm off to work. And if you want to sit in one of those booths, you'd be wise to phone ahead and reserve one.