Crystany’s Brasserie in Canning is celebrating five years in business on June 28! It’s an achievement for the family, who have lived in the community for 39 years.
Opening the first certified dedicated gluten-free restaurant in Canada has been an adventure since the beginning. “Our 18th-century building was gutted and brought back to life,” says owner Savannah Maxner. “We found hidden treasures from previous business owners, which hang on the wall upstairs. Our top hats tell the story of a local business lady, who imported hats. The bar is made from the original wood from the second floor. Our red leather benches came out of the United Church in Wolfville, which is known as the Church Brewery today. Those are just a few of the hidden treasurers housed inside.”
The decision to focus their menu on gluten-free cuisine was a personal choice for the family. “In our family there are three of us who suffer from eating gluten and understood how hard it was to dine out and order a meal that was not always a salad or fish dish,” explains Savannah. Their menu is an achievement they’re proud of and the restaurant is even visited annually by a certified inspector to make sure they have indeed purchased all gluten-free products and that the restaurant is up to health and safety standards.
“Everything at Crystany’s is made in house: desserts, pickles, sauces, pasta, buns, pizza dough, and English muffins,” says Savannah. “We source all our products locally, which allows us to change our menu seasonally, at least twice a year. Our wines, ciders, and beers are also from local producers, along with organic wines from around the world and gluten-free beers.”
“Over the five years we have had many popular dishes, including our homemade beer-battered fish and chips, hamburgers, and sandwiches, along with any of our made-from-scratch desserts,” she says. Moving into the summer season, local lobster, scallops, and lamb will start to pop up on the menu.
The restaurant truly is a family affair: mother, Crystal, father, Tim, and daughters Savannah and Britany, all play a part in creating the restaurant’s unique menu and environment: “As a family-owned restaurant, you can find each one of us at one time in the dish pit, on the line, serving, cleaning, and always engaging with our staff and customers.”
“For the last three years, we have local musicians play Friday nights. Even during Covid, we did what we could to help and support them, when we were open to the public,” says Savannah. “We still have one of the best rooftop patios in Nova Scotia, which overlooks the Habitant River in all its beauty.”
They’ve taken their role in the community to heart—donating to various organizations, including the Canning Food Bank and the Canning Fire Department, and in the last year, the family business has really seen community support come their way as well.
“When the first round hit and we had to shut down and be open for take-out only, the communities around supported us and we were able to keep our doors open, which we were very grateful and thankful for,” says Savannah.
Despite the challenges, the family is still as dedicated as ever their passion: “The focus of the restaurant and why it was created has never changed,” says Savannah. “It was created to offer those with celiac disease a safe place to come and enjoy a beautiful meal with their family and friends and to educate those who are not celiac about what this disease is about and the damage it does to one’s health, and to educate individuals that when food is prepared correctly without gluten, that you will not notice.”
And despite the constraints of life during the pandemic, Crystany’s Brasserie is ready to celebrate. They will be celebrating the anniversary with the launch of a new line of swag, specials over their anniversary weekend, fun ways to engage with our customers via social media, and opportunities to win some prizes.