NEW GLASGOW – The smell of a fresh coat of paint hangs in the air as Dave Cohen walks through what will soon be Appleseed Modern Diner.
New seating booths remain wrapped in cardboard and a few wires dangle from the ceiling waiting to be installed, but Cohen said that opening day is closer than it looks.
“We’re within a week of getting things up and going,” he said.
The restaurant, across from the Pictou County Wellness Centre and billed as a modern diner, is planning to offer freshly made comfort food classics while partnering with local producers and suppliers.
“Our only issue, and it's a big one, is waiting for electricity from Nova Scotia Power.”
While dealing with weather issues that caused delays in the winter, post-tropical storm Arthur has been responsible for his latest woes. He said that NS Power was scheduled to hook up the building but has been preoccupied with trying to get power back to customers throughout the province.
“Weather has been a battle. But other than that we’re cruising along putting some last-minute touches.”
All the kitchen equipment and major appliances have been acquired and are in place. In late June, Cohen said he completed the hiring process and now has a staff in place.
“I’m proud to say we have 28 people hired on. A lot of hard-working, good people from Pictou County, who were without work, are on board.”
But one new addition to the stuff was just plain luck. Chef Jeff McInnis will be the modern diner’s new head chef. His resume includes serving as executive chef of the Five FishermenRestaurant & Grill in Halifax and Fox Harb'r Golf Resort & Spa.
According to Cohen, McInnis’s family is based in Truro and he preferred to work closer than The Five Fishermen in Halifax. After a few conversations, both men decided the restaurant would be a good fit and, with McInnis at the helm, Cohen said the diner’s menu will feature delicious burgers and hot dogs, unique sandwiches and updated classics all made with fresh ingredients.
“It was always my goal to have a trained chef,” said Cohen. “The Appleseed’s food philosophy focuses on fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create delicious dishes and Jeff will help make this a reality.”
Since construction began last winter the region has suffered several economic setbacks, including hundreds of planned job losses at Michelin and Convergys. Still, Cohen feels the business will succeed.
“I’m confident though it’s been challenging times in northern Nova Scotia,” he said. “That’s why we’re offering reasonable and affordable good prices.”
He noted that the restaurant’s location on MacGregor Avenue, off the Trans-Canada Highway and directly across the street from the Pictou County Wellness Centre, will also help.
Sharing the structure, although not the same building, is Central Amusement’s new flagship entertainment centre, Sparkles Family Entertainment.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn