Spring is creeping into Nelson, and Paul Archambault couldn’t be happier.
Walk down Herridge Lane on a sunny afternoon, and you’re likely to find the owner of the All Seasons Cafe out watering the dense green foliage that surrounds his restaurant, or tending to the edible garden that flanks his favorite dining space: the patio.
“The patio changes everything,” Archambault says.
Shaded by maple trees and strung with lights, the outdoor dining area doubles the restaurant’s capacity and fills the air on the laneway with sounds of laughter and clinking glass for much of the summer. And it’s not just diners who appreciate its return.
“The patio makes me happy, because it’s spring, the sun’s out, I get to go outside and enjoy it. It makes it easier to work. My staff is happier,” he adds. “Definitely the clients coming in, they’re having a good time. They’re sitting under the maple tree with a nice little warm breeze going. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
A restaurateur for more than 30 years, Archambault has worked on both coasts and owned restaurants in Toronto and California. Seeking a change of pace, he moved to Nelson four years ago, and took over the then 10 year-old restaurant.
“It’s more high end, more fine dining,” he says of the spot. “I was used to quick service, casual dining. In California I had a restaurant on the beach specializing in fish. But this was a good fit. A little less volume, but more attention to detail.”
As with his beachfront restaurant, setting has been a key component of the All Seasons, as has locally sourced food.
“We have food ranging from elk to venison to fish, we have halibut, we have all the different B.C. salmons when they’re running, spot prawns,” Archambault says. “And it’s all seasonal, it changes on a daily basis.”
And once again, summer makes the concept all the more sweet. At All Seasons, summer means seafood — halibut, salmon, scallops, mussells, sablefish and oysters.
Even closer to home, the cafe gets an extra kick for its menu from the same garden that provides a summer dining backdrop. Mixed in with flowering shrubs and perennials are oregano, sage, rhubarb, strawberries, edible flowers, an array of mints, and lavender.
“And then you combine that with the local farmers, and all their produce coming fresh off a truck down the alleyway here every day all summer long,” Archambault adds. “It doesn’t get any sweeter than that.”