The community of Petite Riviere will soon have a place to raise a glass in celebration when its popular General Store is resurrected in the spring.
Two of the owners of the Petite Riviere General Store, which was damaged by fire in September, have banded together with another local couple to open a pub in the area.
"It's virtually ready now. We're hoping to open the doors at the end of the month," Peter MacNeil told LighthouseNOW.
MacNeil and his wife Tanya Shaw have partnered with Paul Knapman and Andrea Carew to build and operate the pub, which they're calling Osprey's Nest Public House.
MacNeil and Shaw, MacNeil's brother, John, and his wife Catherine Anne MacNeil, all own the Petite Riviere General store on Highway 331, which was badly burned the day after Hurricane Dorian hit the area.
Gas and diesel have been restored at the pumps, and they've been selling "the essentials" out of a trailer on the premises until the original store is fully restored, which is expected to be late in the spring, according to Shaw.
However, it's not as though the couples decided to drink away their woes post-fire. According to MacNeil, the idea of opening a local pub started fermenting about two years ago. Both couples in the pub project have homes in the Petite Riviere, Broad Cove area.
"Just felt that a pub, a local meeting place with a restaurant, would be a great idea for the area," said MacNeil.
They selected property on John Rieser Drive in the Atlantic Breezes subdivision of Petite Riviere, with the thought the location would appeal to locals and visitors alike. There are five beaches in the area and it's within walking distance of Rissers Beach Campground.
The pub, which will seat 65 to 75 people, was built "from scratch," and has a "real rustic feel to it," says MacNeil. Much of the decor is developed around locally-sourced, reclaimed wood, some dating back more than 150 years.
There will be a pub fare menu, including lobster rolls, pan-fried haddock, nachos, fried pepperoni, chicken wings and seafood chowder. "But some of it with a flair to it," suggests MacNeil.
The owners have hired Rick Ogilvie of Bridgewater to be the chef. His culinary career involved being executive chef and catering officer on vessels around the world, including Atlantic Towing Ltd.'s offshore platform. He was also an executive chef at the Tin Fish restaurant in the Lunenburg Arms Hotel and, most recently, had been working at the Beach Pea Kitchen & Bar in Lunenburg.
The plan is to have the pub open all year-round, with reduced days during the off-season. There will also be live music, balancing what's on offer at the popular Port Medway Grocer.
"They do their live music on a Friday night. We didn't want to compete with that, so we'll do ours on a Saturday night so that people have the option of both places," said MacNeil.
He suggests locals are excited about having a new pub in the area. "We've even booked Christmas parties already."
If the track record of the Petite General Store, which he and his partners have run for the past five years, is anything to go by, there's reason to be optimistic about the pub, he says.
"We've been able to grow that into a true general store that is really, really supported by the local community," said MacNeil.