The owners of a Courtenay brewery and a restaurant have teamed up to open a third business — smack dab in the middle of their downtown establishments.
The Cornerstone Cafe & Taphouse at Fifth and Cliffe — formerly occupied by Zocalo Cafe — is owned by two couples: Alexandra Stephanson and Daniel Sharratt, owners of the Gladstone Brewing Co. on Fourth Street — and Trent McIntyre and Sandra Viney, who operate the Atlas Cafe on Sixth. There is also a fifth ‘silent partner.’
“We’re hoping to help revitalize a little bit of downtown Courtenay,” McIntyre said. “We want to have a bit of a social mandate here where people can come and gather, and meet.”
The owners intend to incorporate live music and an art scene. They might even offer an art class where participants replicate a painting over dinner or a glass of wine.
“The generic name for it is called Sippin’ Paint,” Stephanson said.
The couples have retained the entire Zocalo staff, and hired another dozen or so employees.
As opposed to a traditional sit-down restaurant, Cornerstone will offer more of a ‘nibble and beer’ atmosphere. The bar features 14 beers and two ciders on tap. For food, it offers soups, salads, burgers and sandwiches.
After a ‘soft opening’ May 19, the cafe opened May 26 for lunch, which will continue for about a month before a grand opening.
“We’re happy with the response so far,” McIntyre said.
One of the main venues for the Elevate Arts Festival June 1-4, Cornerstone Cafe & Taphouse will remain open until 11 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends.
McIntyre hopes some neighbouring shops will follow suit and stay open a little later.
“We love it down here,” he said. “We want to make sure the (downtown) fabric does stay at some sort of a centralized place. We have the Sid here, we have the library. We just want to build on that.”