Large crowd attends Campbell’s Drive-In grand opening

Lisa Campbell, left, and her mother Daphne Campbell were all smiles as they served customers at Campbell’s Drive-In grand opening of the renovated restaurant last week.

Celebrations held for newly renovated restaurant

GORDON – If there was any doubt the dream of the late Keith Campbell to open a drive-in restaurant would be a big part of the local community, there should be none after the massive crowd on hand for Campbell’s Drive-In’s grand re-opening of its newly renovated premises on June 19.

Families and individuals gathered on the property to enjoy some great food, many taking advantage of the new patio deck that adorns one side of the building to enjoy their meal, while others strolled along to visit the classic cars from the Rainbow Country Cruisers, and to listen to the great music provided by the band Lance and the Glen-Dale Trio, playing all the rock and roll and classic country music hits from the 1950s and 1960s.
Daphne Campbell explained it had been her late husband Keith’s dream to open up the restaurant. “The restaurant opened in April 1976,” she said. “It was his dream to open this drive-in restaurant,” she said, noting that when the restaurant was opened 43 years ago, an article in the Recorder reported, “Mr. Campbell planned to open later in the weekend, but customer demand forced him to open early.”

“It was a dream that Keith had. He had built the front part of the restaurant, but it was left for 10 years before he could build onto it,” said Daphne. 

Lisa Campbell, who took over the management duties of the restaurant from her mother Daphne this year said, “I want to thank everyone who was on hand. We always wanted Campbell’s to be part of the community and if we aren’t we are certainly on the way.” 

“I also gave a shout out and thank you at the opening to Ken Fogg for being there, he was my mom and dad’s first customer at the restaurant,” said Lisa.

“Keith and Ken used to cruise a lot in their classic cars in those days,” said Daphne. “Keith had a burgundy coloured 1941 Dodge Coupe. Keith Jewell has Keith’s car now, he restored it and it looks great.”

It was obvious that Dale Trimmer, along with his bandmates, had a great time playing the music at the grand opening. “Keith and I go back a long way, to the late 1960s,” he told the Recorder. “I had a band in Sudbury around 1968-1970 and he was the manager for us on the Island, he would take bookings for us on weekends.”

Mr. Trimmer’s bandmates for the opening included Lance Panamick lead guitar and vocals, Glen Zembo on drums, and in the second set, Lance’s children Xavier and Madison performed as well.

“It was a special night for me, it took me back,” said Mr. Trimmer, who is originally from Gore Bay. “I ran into Daphne a few weeks ago and she asked if we would like to provide the music for the opening. With the 1950-1960s rock and country music and with the old cars on hand it was tremendous.” 

Mr. Trimmer explained, “Keith had many, many talents. He had a construction company and could build houses, and was the building inspector of the town for awhile. And he built the Drive-In.”

“Keith had a lot of good friends, we all did, in those days about 52 kids attended the old Gore Bay High School from the West End of the Island, including Kagawong. When you spend four or five years with the same people, seeing them at least five days a week you get to know the people in the area.”

“Keith was a good friend, he was easy going and would help anyone,” said Mr. Trimmer. “He was a good guy, and we were fortunate and grateful to have a friend like him in the old days. I was really glad the opening had nice weather, and there certainly were a lot of people around.”

“It was a fabulous evening,” stated Daphne, who estimated there were about 500 people on hand through the evening.