LAKE HOUSE RESTAURANT in Vineland, Ontario
Hanne Olesen-Nahman brings passion and experience to everything that she does. She began her journey into the world of high-end restaurants over 40 years ago and has almost done it all from bussing and serving, to hostessing, being a food runner, an expeditor, a bartender, washed dishes, prepped food and cooked.
Hanne worked at Harrop Restaurant in Milton, Ontario in high school for extra money and at Le Rendez-vous Restaurant in Toronto, Ontario to pay for travel and university – she attended the University of Toronto and graduated with an honours degree. Her dream to join the diplomatic service after graduation was stalled when The External Affairs Department of the Canadian Government stopped taking candidates for a period of time – so Hanne continued to work her way up the restaurant career path for over 10 years at Le Rendez-vous Restaurant to a management position and traveled during the summer months to destinations far and wide.
Hanne joined Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Toronto as an Assistant General Manager in August 1995, where she had the opportunity to work in marketing and advertising as well as restaurant operations. She was promoted to General Manager four years later. In 2004, Hanne was promoted to Vice President of Operations to look after the Greater Toronto area and the daily operations of both the Toronto and the Mississauga locations. In April of 2007, Hanne was promoted to the position of Executive Vice President of Operations overseeing four Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations, including two locations in San Antonio, Texas.
Hanne was instrumental in helping the RCSH locations that she supervised to achieve countless awards. In 2004, RCSH Toronto won the #1 spot for a wine contest system-wide where they won Ruth Fertel’s Mercedes Benz as the grand prize. Toronto and Mississauga were honored in 2007 as the #1 and #2 Top Restaurants RCSH system-wide for shopper’s reports and guest experience. Other awards included the 2011 Restaurant of the Year Award for the RCSH San Antonio Concord location that was awarded system-wide. Hanne worked at Ruth’s Chris Steak House until March 2014 when she made the decision to move forward and to focus on her own businesses with her husband, Joseph.
Hanne believes having filled almost every job in the restaurant industry puts her at an advantage, “I have worked in almost every possible capacity and have a very strong operations background. It’s one thing to just come in and manage and another to know what a job is really about and to understand what each position involves.”
This background shaped her management philosophy, which is based on communication and empowering people. “I try very hard to include our staff and management to get their ideas and to solve problems. Everything we attain we do as a team. We could never do this alone, no one can,” she said. According to her, that teamwork is reflected in a great product and outstanding service for the guest. “It is the great people that are part of our team that is at the root of our success.”
Hanne and her husband, Joseph own Lake House Restaurant in Vineland, Ontario which has been in operation since April 2002 and has become an institution in its own right in the Niagara region. In January 2010, they opened Stone House Restaurant in Burlington, Ontario and continued to operate it for ten years until 2020/2021 when they closed Stone House due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its financial impact. Hanne and Joseph continue to focus all of their efforts on Lake House and its future growth.
“We are extremely fortunate to be located in the beautiful Niagara region and we do our best to showcase local wineries and local products whenever possible. Lake House is a special place that we hold very close to our hearts.”
Joseph and Hanne have a combined 90+ years of experience in the restaurant field. Everything that they do, they do as a team.