Embers Grill and Smokehouse

Menu items from Embers Grill & Smokehouse

Fine Dining with Local Foods

Since its opening just six years ago, Embers Grill and Smokehouse has made a big impact on the food scene in Sault Ste. Marie. In a very competitive market, they have been able to carve out a niche with customers looking for a fine dining and a local terroir experience. Embers is known for its high quality, fresh, and creative cuisine.

Behind the Embers name are Shayne and Brandi Bell, a husband and wife team with over 20 years’ experience in the food and hospitality industry. With Shayne’s creative chef and food skills, they took their passion for fresh, local, and delicious food, and opened their restaurant in downtown Sault Ste. Marie.

They first opened on Queen Street and were there for four years. Then, an opportunity became available at 531 Albert Street East, where they were able to not only expand, but also buy the building. It has a larger seating capacity in the main restaurant and can accommodate parties of up to 40 in the upstairs private dining room. Brandi told me she has loved the former house where their restaurant is now since she was a little girl. Her dream of owning it is finally realized.

embers grill and smokehouse interior restaurant
(Photo credit: Sandra Trainor)
embers grill and smokehouse interior restaurant
(Photo credit: Sandra Trainor)

They are proud to be the first smokehouseone in the city, and one of the first locations to serve locally sourced ingredients for their menu. Throughout the past six years, and for the foreseeable future, Embers has been sourcing many of their menu items from local Algoma farms. All of their beef comes from Penokean Hills Farms and when in season, their vegetables come from Sunnynook Farms, Marshall Farms, and Pearce Farm. They also use Pearce's honey.  

berkshire pork dinner
Sunnynook Farms Berkshire pork chop, cold smoked with applewood, glazed with a OutSpoken Brewing split shot and Pearse Farm Honey glaze; sweet potato and bourbon mash with molasses; celeric and fennel puree; roasted carrots, and a caramelized apple sauce. (Photo credit: Embers Grill & Smokehouse)

In addition to sourcing from local farms, Chef Shayne has the skills and equipment to breakdown the animal and uses all parts for whatever he’s making—for example, using the bones to make stock and the tallow to cover the beef cuts during the aging process. These skills are very unique in the restaurant industry. Shayne sees it as an opportunity to get the exact cut of meat he wants, as well as very cost-effective way to buy meat for the restaurant. Recently, they have been sourcing whole pigs from Sunnynook Farms, so these skills have certainly come in handy!

smoked beet and goat cheese salad
Smoked beet and goat cheese salad with micro greens and arugula tossed in our maple walnut dressing. (Photo credit: Embers Grill & Smokehouse)

Menu inspiration comes from what is around them—quality local food. Over the years, Embers has built relationships with local farmers, where they will grow certain foods specifically for the restaurant. It’s a successful formula that has seen the increase in capacity for local farmers who now supply the restaurant.

Response from their customers has been very positive; they love knowing that the food is local and that they are helping to support a family business and family farms, that “there’s a local face behind the food.”

smoked turkey sandwich
Smoked Turkey Sandwich. (Photo credit: Embers Grill & Smokehouse)

It’s very obvious that attention to detail, by making everything from scratch in-house—including their own sauces, dressings, breads, and desserts—showcases the care and pride that goes into what diners see and taste. It also demonstrates that these business owners love what they do.

As for beverages, Embers has a unique list of wines from around the world, as well as a beer list which includes Outspoken and Northern Superior craft breweries from Sault Ste. Marie, as well as St. Ambroise from Québec.

embers grill & smokehouse wine selection
(Photo credit: Sandra Trainor)

After doing all of their own renovations, the restaurant has a warm, cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Even many of the paintings on the walls were painted by Shayne’s grandmother.

Brandi and Shayne mentioned that one of the reasons they opened their own business was because of their desire to be together as a family. With three young kids, combined with the food service industry hours of work, Shayne realized that if he worked for someone else, they would never see him. With the advantage of owning their own business and the building, they have been able to create a small room upstairs where their children can come in and hang out and be near their parents. They wanted a way to give themselves employment and have time together as a family. In addition to Shayne and Brandi, Embers employs six people.

Penokean Hills Farms Ribeye
Penokean Hills Farms Ribeye. (Photo credit: Embers Grill & Smokehouse)

I asked what their plans were for the future and Brandi and Shayne said just to keep running as a family business, putting out quality, delicious food for their customers. “True to who we are and food that we like. We’re also putting together a new menu that features more locally sourced menu items.” As well, last year they built a patio in front of their restaurant and are looking forward to the warmer weather so that their customers can enjoy dining outdoors. Tourists make up a big part of their business, with travellers seeking an authentic food experience.

embers grill & smokehouse patio
(Photo credit: Embers Grill & Smokehouse)

This is a family business, with signs that the next generation will be involved too—their oldest daughter showing a great interest in food and creating in the kitchen. Embers Grill and Smokehouse is an excellent asset to the dynamic, independently owned food scene in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma and it's great to see them grow and thrive!

bell family
(Photo credit: Sandra Trainor)

Open for lunch and dinner 
531 Albert Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Phone: (705) 575-3359
Follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Embersmoker
Instagram @emberssmoker

Featured articles