The venerable public boating window on to Brome Lake and dining destination with its water’s edge terrace, opened in June.
The old menu has been scrapped; simplicity is the kitchen watchword this year. The much-loved burgers are back, and new chef Sam Greenwood is mixing up his own version of veggie burger. But the menu is leaner, and the whole operation geared for quality and efficency in these difficult times.
The unfortunate but crucial social distancing is in effect until further governmental notice, so seating is much reduced. Necessity being the mother of invention, as the late, lamented Frank Zappa never noted, take-out is now an option, as in, staff will now bring meals to patrons on their boats in harbour. Think aquatic drive-in.
Owners Gerry Moar and daughter Jaime sat down on the terrace before the season began to talk about their plans in a time when everything is up in the air and the future is an unknown quantity.
“We’ve been batting ideas around and thinking a lot about this summer,” they said. (for the sake of simplicity, and because the two think and work as a team, all quotes will be shared.)
“We’re keeping it simple, at least to start. We are considering offering breakfast, but playing it by ear. Every day is like a weekend to us and our customers, and we are totally dependant on the weather.” Like other enterprises, they have fixed expenses like permits, taxes and accounting. Uniquely, though, they had to pay for a permit from Quebec for the rental of the bottom of the lake so they could put in their docks.
The two are partners in Marina Knowlton, Gerry owns the buildings and handles the boats and docks, while Jaime runs the restaurant and her popular yoga on the dock. Foot traffic is an issue during the pandemic, and they admit their luck with two access points to ensure safe, one-way circulation. The season remains, however, a work in progress. Thinking on their feet isn’t an option; it’s essential for safety and survival.
“As more and more people stay close to home this summer, we have had a huge demand for berths, with some offering many times the going rate for a place to secure their boats. But the slips were all spoken for long ago, and they are wasting their time. People aren’t going anywhere this summer, so this is it.”