Lakeside Seafood & Grill joined TripAdvisor.com’s top 10 per cent of restaurants around the world.
Located in Living Water Resort & Spa, Lakeside has been serving fresh seafood and sunset views to locals and travellers alike for over five years.
In recognition of consistently earning great reviews, the waterfront restaurant was recently awarded a 2020 Travellers’ Choice Award from TripAdvisor.com.
“Everyone has worked so hard, then all of a sudden to get this award... It was so unexpected but so nice. To be able to walk in and tell your staff that all of their hard work has paid off… That’s a good feeling,” said Sandy Dixon, the restaurant’s general manager.
Dixon joined the Living Water family last October and has since set out to help the restaurant and patio live up to its full potential.
“Look at this view. It speaks for itself,” she said.
Momentum was building and Dixon was excited about a number of upcoming events she and Chef Emily Mallen were working on, and then COVID-19 happened.
“I was scared out of my mind, we all were,” said Dixon. “The beautiful thing was, we work for a boss who has the biggest heart. For him, it was never a question of having nothing left to do.”
During the pandemic, Larry Law, owner and founder of Living Water Resort & Spa and Living Stone Golf Resorts, sent curated care packages on three separate occasions to laid-off staff. With the help of Dixon, Don Buckle and Warren Smith, Living Water’s vice president and executive vice president, respectively, they created the Caring Hearts Staff Relief Fund.
The restaurant also relaunched its take-out and delivery services and offered 50 per cent for frontline workers for a week.
“It was such an amazing experience, to work together through that,” said Dixon. “And the next thing you know, patios are opening again.”
Dixon said learning to adapt day by day was detrimental, and she is thankful for the Town of Collingwood and the part they played helping patios extend their space, allowing restaurants to recover some of the losses they experienced over the past few months.
“We’re really blessed to live in this community. I’ve realized that more and more over the past few months,” said Dixon. “If we get anything out of all of this, it’s how vital supporting our economy is."
Dixon has been happy to help tourists from around Ontario discover the beauty of the area that she gets to experience every day, and she is thankful visitors have been reasonable and respectable in the process.
“Our staff put themselves at risk every day, yet their biggest concern is that by wearing a mask, the guests won’t be able to see their smile,” Dixon laughed.
And that is what made receiving the TripAdvisor award even more special, she said.
“You don’t work in this industry as long as some of our staff have if you aren’t passionate. The award is very special, it’s a salute to people who are passionate and who love what they do,” said Dixon.
“Every day I walk in here and I feel part of a family. These people are here to take care of each other.”