Whet your appetite for a new and improved Benchmark restaurant.
Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) is celebrating the reopening of Benchmark this week. It had been closed since the end of December for renovations.
A teaching restaurant for NC’s hospitality programs and the CFWI’s culinary programs, Benchmark is located on campus at Niagara College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake campus and is open to the public for lunch and dinner. Benchmark’s new look and new focus better integrates the CFWI’s trio of exemplary food, wine and beer programs.
Student-made wine and beer products now have their place at a new 23-foot-long bar, made of blackened steel panels and rough sawn white oak topped with white marble. The bar also provides space for students to conduct demonstrations inside the restaurant, clearly visible to the diners. In addition, wine and beer recommendations – NC wine and beer, as well as other labels – now accompany food items on the new menu.
“The new Benchmark provides an excellent hands-on learning facility for our students and a spectacular dining experience for guests,” said Jon Ogryzlo, dean of the CFWI.
The restaurant also features new branded wood tabletops, a new entrance, illuminated signage, and wall panels fashioned out of blackened steel and white oak.
Benchmark reopened January 26 with the official invite-only grand opening event on January 26.
In addition to the re-opening, Benchmark will host Caps, Corks and Forks on February 2 where students from the college’s wine programs will face off against students from the college’s new Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program. The event – to be emceed by The Thirsty Traveler host Kevin Bauch – will feature a five-course meal prepared by CFWI culinary students, led by chef professor Tony deLuca, with a wine and beer sampling to accompany each course. Guests will vote for the best match after each course – wine or beer – to determine the ultimate winner.