As diners filter back into indoor dining rooms of eateries across the province, a new patio in Estevan Village remains popular.
A trio of eateries line the block and all three benefit from the space built by The Village Restaurant.
“We were always close … but COVID has helped us to understand that we need to work together,” said Village owner Jason Chan, who utilized a loan and grant to build the patio.
Owners and managers at The Village, Mr. Hot Pot and Nohra Thai Kitchen shared knowledge and understanding around things such as subsidy programs and different forms of takeout containers. The progression of the relationship came out of necessity.
“The community support has been mind-blowing. The community wants us to be here. These people will sit in the pouring rain and eat breakfast so we survive.”
The Tuesday after the province shut down indoor eating earlier this spring, takeout at The Village jumped 300 per cent.
That’s around the same time Nohra’s asked if they could use the patio in the evenings, since The Village, famous for brunch, closes in late afternoon.
“It was a no-brainer to share the space with them and try to help promote people to really check them out,” Chan said, adding he knows the struggles of a new business like Nohra. He also raves about the food prepared by chef and owner Phen Bryan.
Most municipalities, including Oak Bay, tied allowances for the new infrastructure to provincial regulations. In May of 2020 the province allowed licence holders for liquor and food services to temporarily expand operating footprints. It has been extended twice, now ending Oct. 31.
Chan hopes to see the infrastructure stay, both in Estevan and other spaces across Greater Victoria. Wood alone was a $13,000 investment and the entire build came in about $25,000 for his patio. But more importantly, streetscapes across the region have changed with the implementation of bike lanes and street patios, he noted.
“If these structures were made permanent, if that is what we’re left with … this will become an international destination for people to just come and sit outside on these patios and have a drink,” he said. “It gives people a reason to come, beyond getting a T-shirt.”
And with proper monitoring, Chan feels at least in Estevan the loss of parking shouldn’t be an issue.
“What we have here, the neighbourhood has loved it.”
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