11th Mile, Fredericton’s newest restaurant, is giving downtown a modern edge.
Located on Regent Street, tucked in-between King and Queen, 11th Mile opened its doors last Wednesday.
The restaurant’s dark grayscale decor is only interrupted by a meter-tall apple tree in a glass vase by the entrance; the wooden finishes and reclaimed, corrugated metal adorning the long polished concrete bar give the restaurant an industrial vibe.
“We wanted to use the resources that [were] around us to reflect our personalities,” said Jennie Wilson, the restaurant’s co-owner.
Although the restaurant has a metropolitan appearance, the inspiration and craftsmanship is local. The silver trays that hang on one of the walls came from a local hospice fundraising boutique, while the restaurant’s glasses came from an antique store on Fredericton’s north side.
“We [made] sure, to the best extent possible, to find things from here made by people here— because that’s the big idea; that’s the point,” Wilson said.
The restaurant is opened by Jennie Wilson and her husband, Peter Tompkins, who are both maritimers. They met serving tables in a Fredericton restaurant over two decades ago.
Since then, the couple moved to Toronto, where Wilson became a senior consultant at a special education clinic and Tompkins a chef at restaurants such as Quince Bistro and Noorden Food Bar.
“But we’ve always wanted to come back. When we left 20 years ago, we said we would come back home and open a restaurant,” she said.
Wilson points to two reasons why they decided to open 11th Mile in Fredericton instead of Toronto: The first is that they wanted to develop a project together because “when you’re married to a chef, you don’t get to see them all the time,” she said. Besides, she “enjoys restaurant life and thought it would be a fun thing to do together.”
The second is simply because the couple loves New Brunswick. They want to contribute to the province’s economy and to the city of Fredericton, while creating jobs and training chefs in the area.
“There’s a drain of people leaving New Brunswick and Toronto is full of maritimers who left to gain opportunities—but now we’ve [acquired] some skill and said ‘let’s go back,’ rather than continue to drain all of the resources out of the province,” she said.
The pair are striving to make 11th Mile all about social dining. This means people can come in after work and enjoy drinks, have a quick bite and go—or they can come in the evening with friends to “order some food, order a drink and order some more,” Wilson said.
She describes 11th Mile as a relaxed environment where the music is loud and the food inspires sharing and having a fun time with friends.
“It’s not a pub and we’re not heavy into craft beer. We saw a gap in the market and it seems this place would [fill it].” The menu offers familiar food with surprising flavors and hints of Indonesian and Japanese cuisine.
They are trying to keep the prices reasonable, Wilson said. “I’d love to see students here, having a good time. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a snack and a drink.”