Brand Lead, Turtle Jack’s Muskoka Grill
Canadians want more than just good food when dining out — they want fresh ingredients and a memorable experience. Turtle Jack’s Muskoka Grill delivers.
Turtle Jack’s wrote the menu for the premium casual dining experience in Ontario. With 18 locations and a loyal following, the recipe for success has been simple: prepare fresh, quality food, create a sense of place, and hire people who are passionate about delivering friendly service. Clark Lishman – Brand Lead, Turtle Jack’s Muskoka Grill, whose family has been dishing up memorable dining experiences for decades, chatted with Mediaplanet to share the restaurant’s inspiration.
What was the inspiration behind Turtle Jack’s?
Thirty years ago, my father and I were relaxing on a dock in Muskoka and we talked about the lack of premium casual dining options. We dreamed of a premium restaurant that offered fresh food paired with the kind of fun and relaxed hospitality you enjoy with family friends at the cottage.
As the brand grew, we remembered that dockside vision we had. We want our guests to have a special experience — our restaurants are purposely designed to evoke the feeling of being at the cottage, and our servers treat guests like old friends.
What does premium casual mean?
We believe you can prepare quality food and enjoy fine dining in a comfortable and casual environment. At Turtle Jack’s you can still get wings and other comfort foods, but you can also enjoy delicious poke or curry bowls, and steaks aged in-house. Dressed in a suit, ready to loosen the tie, or dressed casually, you’ll always feel comfortable at our restaurants.
What differentiates Turtle Jack’s from other restaurants?
We were really the first in Ontario to develop the premium casual dining experience. While others have entered the market, we’re still committed to serving quality food that’s prepared fresh daily. Our food isn’t frozen, and we offer limited-time menus to keep things fresh and to source local ingredients when we can. We take pride in where our food comes from, just like our guests do. That’s why we only serve sustainably caught salmon, Canadian raised chicken and pork, and Certified Angus Beef. At Turtle Jack’s our guests are family, and we want to reward our family! The TLC (Turtle Jack’s Loyalty Club) program is a comprehensive rewards program that gives you points on every dollar spent.
Just like our guests, we care where our food comes from. We’re committed to serving quality food that’s prepared fresh daily.
Turtle Jack’s has a loyal following in Ontario. Do you have plans to expand outside the province?
This year, we’re opening two locations in British Columbia — in Prince George and Kelowna. We’re excited to bring the Turtle Jack’s experience to other parts of the country. A piece of Ontario’s cottage country is coming to BC’s cottage country! Our partnership with MTY Restaurant Group has provided us with valuable resources needed to further invest in our people and growing the brand.
Despite its growth, Turtle Jack’s still has the attributes of a small, family-run business. If you’re looking for a dining experience that’s both quality and comfortable, and one that gives you a feeling of genuineness, Turtle Jack’s is where you’ll find that.
Find out how you can have the Turtle Jack’s experience at turtlejacks.com.