Watersedge Pub and Restaurant opens in Gore Bay to much fanfare

Mike Lockhart is the chef/operator of the Watersedge Pub and Restaurant in Gore Bay.

GORE BAY—The Watersedge Pub and Restaurant in Gore Bay has had a great response from both locals and visitors since its grand opening on Canada Day. Under new management, the location was previously home to 1890 Restaurant and is the dining room associated with the Inn of Gore Bay. 

“The support we have received from locals and tourists has been amazing,” said chef/operator Mike Lockhart. “Since we are going to operate 12 months of the year, without the local support we will not make it.”

Most recently, Mr. Lockhart was head chef and kitchen manager at Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre in Little Current, for nearly two years. Prior to that, he was an assistant cook/chef at GG’s Diner Evansville. He worked at the Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka for about two years, starting around 2010. He is not a fully licenced chef, he explained, “I’ve got everything but my chef ticket. The problem is getting enough hours working with a licenced chef.”

He learned a lot from Joyce Benoit at GG’s, he noted. “She was awesome to work with. I learned a lot from her on the cooking side of the business and at the Manitoulin Hotel, I learned a lot more about the management side of things. Both places set me up to do this at Watersedge.”

Mr. Lockhart is joined in the kitchen by Liam McIntyre who he hired from the Manitoulin Hotel. “He (Mr. McIntyre) is so calm in the kitchen, no matter how busy it is. He is a great addition here.”

The menu at Watersedge Pub and Restaurant offers a variety of high- and low-end priced food ranging from appetizers and salads to sandwiches, wraps and burgers and an extensive offering of entrées. In addition to Asian steak stir-fry, local Odawa rainbow trout, liver and onions, bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, wild game bangers and mash, a 10 ounce ribeye steak or a whitefish dinner with whitefish from Purvis Fishery, there are several pasta selections available.

“The bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin is very good, as is the almond citrus crusted rainbow trout,” said Mr. Lockhart. “We are doing as much as we can to offer home-style cooking using local producers’ products. We prepare it all and making everything homemade and using locally raised products makes a real difference.”

The restaurant also uses local ground beef, and eggs from Morley Runnalls, who has the only certified egg grading station on the Island. Mr. Lockhart hopes to add more local options for steak and roasts over the next year.

One of the most popular menu items so far is the Watersedge plate of dips, Mr. Lockhart said. “When we were putting the menu together, we wanted to include normal, affordable items that people enjoy along with more high end items, but all are reasonably priced. We want a menu that is friendly for everyone.”

The restaurant and licenced pub will be open six days a week, Monday and Wednesday from 11 am to 8 pm and Thursday to Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm. The kitchen won’t be shutting down one hour before closing time and people who arrive at 9 pm will “definitely be served,” Mr. Lockhart noted. Watersedge will be closed on Tuesdays with the exception of parties and special events. “If someone has a big birthday party planned for a Tuesday, we can work something out if the group is big enough,” he said.

“We want to encourage people who are having a wedding, birthday or any other major function to call us. We would love to accommodate them,” Mr. Lockhart added.

The Watersedge main dining area is licenced for 150 patrons, the pub can hold 40, and the patio can accommodate 40 persons. The downstairs room area can be used for conferences. Perry Patterson continues to operate the co-located Inn at Gore Bay.

For more information or to make a reservation, call 705-272-7441. Watersedge Pub and Restaurant is active on Facebook and will have a website up and running within the next couple of weeks, said. Mr. Lockhart.