ST. JOHN’S, NL – When Mark Dobbin was in his late teens, he would venture to the village of Quidi Vidi in St. John’s, ate some cooked lobster he had bought at the fish processing plant, and admired the landscape while throwing the shells into the water.
On Wednesday, Dobbin, founder and chairman of Newfoundland-based investment firm Killick Capital Inc., stood in the same area, surrounded by dozens of wooden picnic tables as people sipped beer and ate food from Saucy Mouth, Bernard Stanley Express, and Quidi Vidi Sweet Place.
After acquiring the land, Dobbin and his partners at Business and Arts NL saw an opportunity to transform the empty and barren dock into a place where locals and tourists of all ages could go to explore the scenery, see local art and enjoy the local food and beer. .
They call it The Wharf at Quidi Vidi, a seasonal non-profit event, which started Wednesday night and plans to run through Labor Day weekend.
“We have, as you can see, room for hundreds of people. We have far exceeded the minimum regulations in terms of distance between tables, ”said Dobbin. “It’s family-friendly. You are allowed to have pets there. There are going to be more food trucks, but right now we have three.
“As you can see, they are doing very stable business. (There is) great beer provided by Landwash, we had ice cream, coffee, baked goods, cold cuts, anything you could want. And look at the view. Fantastic.”
Dobbin said there was always a bit of nervousness when opening something new, but the weather was working in their favor.
“It’s a little easier to sell cold beer on a hot day like this,” Dobbin said.
Chris Conway is the managing director and one of the co-owners of Landwash Brewery, which has set up a newly made beer trailer with taps on the side under a white tent.
“We wanted to do something so that we could have some kind of beer food truck that could sit here and stay here all summer,” Conway said.
Last fall, Dobbin partnered with the Mount Pearl-based brewery. When Conway and his partners heard of The Wharf’s plan on Quidi Vidi, they jumped at the chance, he said.
“I’m originally from this area, so I’m really, really happy,” Conway said. “We have six beers on tap. You buy a ticket, go to the beer store and select your beer.
While the beer garden area is for adults only, the idea is to have a casual European-style beer garden, Conway said, not a constant party.
“We’ve always emphasized that a tap room is a place where you can sit and have a few beers with your friends and eat some great food, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do here as well.”
The seasonal event created 20 new jobs, said Dobbin, some from the Clean Start program of Stella’s Circle, a registered charity in St. John’s. Clean Start employees will provide a cleaning service every day, once in the afternoon and then again at night.
Molly and Jack are putting the finishing touches on Molly’s mural at the new The Wharf At Quidi Vidi. Landwash Beer, The Sweet Spot ice cream, food trucks, free shuttles. Soon the artists’ booth. @BizArtsNL pic.twitter.com/ZtrPpn3m0q
– Mark Dobbin (@MarkDobbin) July 14, 2021
To help avoid vehicle congestion, there will be a free shuttle service from the Dominion parking lot at 20, avenue du Lac to the two gravel parking lots on the boulevard and finally a U-turn of the bus on Chemin Cadet no away from the site. It will operate from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. The shuttle will leave Cadet Road at 10, 30 and 50 minutes past the hour.
“You don’t have to be a customer to use it. … Whether you come to the plantation (Quidi Vidi), the Quidi Vidi brewery, the Mallard cottage, or just get off here for a walk, get on the bus, leave your car outside the village and get easy ” , said Dobbin.
Andrew Waterman reports on East Coast culture.