Be it a birthday, anniversary or wedding, chances are that most if not all longtime Valley residents have a memory or two from the days when the Old House Restaurant operated in Courtenay.
Come May, the cottage-style heritage building that overlooks the Courtenay River will return to life when Locals Food from the Heart of the Island opens for business. Construction is needed beforehand to add a kitchen to the lower area of the building, which has been vacant about a year since Old House last operated.
The Locals location will close in April, which will mark five years at its Eighth Street location. Owners Tricia and Ronald St. Pierre hope to open at the new location early in May.
“There’s a lot of energy,” Tricia said. “The community is excited to have something happening at the Old House. Almost everybody we’ve talked to has some connection to the Old House.”
Ronald is a former chef at the Old House, which used to employ at least half the Locals staff.
The building was constructed in 1938 and converted into a restaurant in 1975. It became the premier restaurant north of Victoria, Tricia said.
The Locals menu will change only slightly.
“We will bring back a couple of the old favourites at the Old House Restaurant. But we don’t want people to come in expecting to see the old Old House, because that’s not who we are. We’re Locals Restaurant, but we will be heralding back to some of the old favourites.”
The couple wants to extend the season on the deck by making it more comfortable, and to bring back some of the wood detail around windows, fittings and beams.
“We’re really wanting to bring back a lot of the charm that used to be there, and certainly the standard of food that used to be there,” Tricia said.
Locals will not provide room service but will likely serve breakfast baskets that hotel guests can order.
“We’re going to try to meet the needs of the guests while still being a separate operation,” Tricia said.