More than 50 people showed up to a job fair at the Holiday Inn before 1 p.m. on Monday hoping to join the team at what is soon to be Sarnia’s newest restaurant — Smoke & Spice, an authentic southern-style barbecue joint opening in the former Montana’s location on Exmouth Street.
The job fair lasts until 6 p.m. tonight continues on Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. James Currie, co-owner and director of operations, said the new eatery is looking to hire about 60 new employees.
“We need cooks, servers, bar tenders, dishwashers, just general restaurant staff,” said Currie, who has been working in the restaurant industry for more than 35 years.
Prospective employees can bring a resume to the Holiday Inn, fill out an application, and undergo a job interview on the spot.
Currie said Sarnia can expect to be tasting barbecue on August 15, if all renovations stay on track.
“We’re putting an addition out the back to house our smokers because we smoke all our own meat on site. We don’t bring anything in that’s pre-done,” said Currie.
Currie said installing the new smokers will cost about $250,00 and the total cost of renovations will be in the ballpark of $650,000.
The former Montana’s dining room has been completely gutted and will be replaced to better suit the Smoke & Spice brand.
The menu in Sarnia will reflect the menu at the current Smoke & Spice location in Windsor serving ribs, chicken breast, chicken wings, fried chicken, pulled pork, and other home style barbecue favorites.
“Everything is prepared fresh in the restaurant,” stressed Currie.
Currie is “definitely” hoping to expand the Smoke & Spice brand beyond Sarnia and is looking into places such as Chatham, London, Hamilton, Barrie, and St. Thomas.
“We want to have five or six in Southwestern Ontario and then we’re going to be franchising,” said Currie.
Smoke & Spice has been operating in Windsor for about eight years and has won numersous city resurant awards. The establishment has also been featured on the Canadian TV-show equivalent of Diner, Drive-ins, and Dives, called You Gotta Eat Here.