New family-owned eatery opens in Chatham-Kent

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The doors are now wide open at Chatham-Kent's newest eatery: the Grand Castle Cafe.

Located at 155 Grand Ave. W., the family-owned business is currently open for breakfast and lunch and features daily specials.

The restaurant, which specializes in burgers, hot dogs, fries, poutine, wraps and soups is owned by Dean and Margery Muharrem and Sean Muharrem.

Because of its proximity to Ursuline College Chatham (the Pines), the Muharrems are counting on high school students for a good portion of their business.

"But we're attracting people of all ages and from all walks of life,'' said Dean, who is also publisher of The Chatham Daily News. "We are trying to create a family atmosphere and provide quality food as well as good value.''

There is plenty of parking in the rear of the restaurant and both eat-in and take-out service is available daily Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The food business is not new to Sean Muharrem, the proud owner of The Friendly Beast food truck, which can be seen parked at No Frills and soon at Kingston Park in Chatham, which will mark the return of the truck to the park for the second summer.

"We are planning a larger and more specialized menu in the fall, based on our British heritage,'' said Dean Muharrem. "We're excited about our new business venture and are planning an official opening in the near future.''

Muharrem said he's pleased with the initial response to the new venture, which is also wheelchair accessible.

"We want our customers to go away happy and satisfied with their meal or snack,'' he said. "Our chef Jeff Ramboer enjoys turning out mouth-watering delights.''

For more information or to call in an order dial 519-351-4888.

The Muharrems plan to set up a Facebook page for the eatery later this month.


A $200,000 gift from DuPont Pioneer has helped the Ridgetown Campus Foundation exceed its $3.5 million campaign goal for a new student service and alumni centre.

The new student service and alumni centre will provide a one-stop location for all students and visitors to campus, including those who are considering Ridgetown for their future post-secondary education.

Ken McEwan, director of he Ridgetown campus, said the new facility is 90% complete.

"It really centralizes our student services and our administration,'' he said, adding the centre includes a few new classrooms.

"We hope to be moving in August and have it fully operational by fall,'' he said.

The funding partners include the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities -$1.4 million, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs through the Ontario Agricultural Research Institute - $860,000 and Ridgetown College Alumni and agribusiness contributed nearly $1.3 million.

"Pioneer is pleased to invest in the education of our future agricultural leaders,'' said Ian Grant, DuPont Pioneer Canada president. "Many of our employees, seed growers and customers are graduates of OAC's Ridgetown campus and we are eager to give back to this community.''


An information night to learn more about establishing an elementary program at the Montessori school in Chatham will take place Wednesday.

The 7 p.m. event will be held at the Chilled Cork restaurant.

The school is now accepting registrations for children aged 5 to 13.

The school will offer children a wide array of academic programs in an age appropriate environment.

For more information call 519-351-2662.


Julian Belanger of Chatham is disappointed today. The reason - Stevie Rae's Southwestern Drive-In at Tilbury won't re-open this season.

According to a brief note on the drive-in's website, internal company conflicts have resulted in the closing of the operation.

The note said the company also plans to remove the social media associated with the drive-in until the issues are resolved.


Congratulations to the competitive team at Erin's Dance Club in Blenheim and Chatham.

The club has just finished its fifth competitive season, competing in 58 dances, 15 group routines, 25 solos and 18 duets and trios.

In total, they received one silver award, 70 gold awards, 66 high gold awards, 49 diamond awards, 49 platinum awards, 34 special judges awards and were the only pre-competitive team at Move in London to receive multiple scoring platinum awards.

Auditions for the 2013-2014 teams begin today in Blenheim and Tuesday in Chatham.

For details contact Erin at



Congratulations to Lorne Fryer and his staff at Chatham Decorating Centre on their 25th anniversary at 16 King St. W in historic Downtown Chatham.

"We are proud to be part of historic Downtown Chatham and want to thank our loyal customers who, over the years, have become our friends,'' said Fryer.

The Benjamin Moore retailer was recently voted best paint store in Chatham-Kent in a Chatham Daily News' online survey.

"Benjamin Moore is known for its quality products,'' said Fryer.

The company, which also sells and installs Levolor window treatments, prides itself on giving honest expert advice.

"We treat each sale as if we were selling to a family member,'' said Fryer.

For more information call 519-354-5281.


Paragon Pools on St. Clair Street in Chatham will host the June 19 business after hours program.

The networking event is sponsored by the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce.

The cost is $5 at the door and the event runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.


CARSTAR Chatham made a splash Saturday, joining 70 stores across the country in celebrating the 10th annual Soap It Up Charity car wash in support of Cystic Fibrosis and MADD.

As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations, two lucky Canadians who purchased car wash tickets won the opportunity to attend one of the top 10 celebrations in the world, such as Oktoberfest in Munich or St. Patrick's Day in Ireland.


Chatham-based has been named one of Canada's fastest growing companies.

The Chatham firm placed 248th on the list of 500 companies in the PROFIT 500 awards.

"This is great news for our organization, as it shows that we continue to grow and be extremely competitive,'' said Chandra Clarke, Scribendi president.

The company has been recognized on the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 list for the past three years. The list profiles the country's 100 most successful female business owners.


DuPont Pioneer in Chatham recently held a safe driving obstacle course for its employees.

The goal was for employees to practice their driving skills and make any necessary improvements.

"Safety is a key priority at Pioneer and the communities we live an work in,'' said company spokeswoman Tara Moir.

The safe driving session was followed up by a retired OPP officer and a Chatham-Kent Police Service officer speaking about safe driving, using real life videos and a car that was badly-damaged in an accident.

Bob Boughner's Business column appears each Monday in the Daily News. Send Bob your business news at




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