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Let’s Eat: In the perfect location

The Missing Horse Restaurant in Shuniah fills a gap on Lakeshore Drive.

When Mike Prosser and Jody Hogan decided to open the Missing Horse Restaurant in March 2021, they were pleasantly surprised by how many people ordered food.

“Our first week was our soft opening, and we were just inundated. Of course it’s something new, people want to try it out. But even after that first week, it’s just carried on, week in, week out,” says Prosser.

He and Hogan knew that Shuniah was lacking in dining options, and talked about opening their own restaurant. Despite the pandemic restrictions on indoor dining, they eventually decided to lease the former Crystal Beach Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive and open their own place there.

Prosser, the son of a food and beverage manager, has been cooking all his life. He has been in the Thunder Bay area for the last 25 years, running kitchens, cooking and baking. “I live in Shuniah, so I knew what people were looking for,” he explains. “The support we’re getting from the local clientele is unbelievable.”

Since the Missing Horse opened, they have been doing takeout for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Eventually, they hope to offer breakfast as well, once dine-in resumes in some capacity. There is some patio seating, complete with breathtaking views of Lake Superior, and the restaurant plans to expand outdoor seating for the summer.

“Any business is hard of course, but we’ve been lucky,” he notes. “Since we started, we’ve been in the black, not the red. I can’t say enough about the customers. And now we’re even getting people driving from town to try it.”

The biggest challenge so far has been keeping up, Prosser says. “Our phone can ring 10 times in five minutes. It’s a stressful thing. You don’t want people to wait too long, but you don’t want to put out anything not acceptable. Keeping up with the volume has been the biggest challenge.”

The restaurant has six staff doing “an incredible job,” he says, but it’s a small kitchen and weekends can be very busy.

It feels great that the restaurant is filling a much-needed niche in the community, Prosser says. “I cannot say enough about the support from the community out here. Hopefully we can keep it up. We’ve done Easter specials and Mother’s Day specials; those went over excellent.” Positive reviews posted on social media bring more people to the restaurant all the time. “I guess we’re doing it right!”