We haven’t eaten at every restaurant in Port Stanley – yet. But one of our faves has been the dining room/patio at Kettle Creek Inn.
Although the owners had closed the restaurant last month, it was supposed to be temporary. They had planned to reopen it near the end of July, but now it appears the dining closure is permanent. It’s heartbreaking for the owners and disappointing for patrons.
The problem? It’s definitely not a lack of interest in the restaurant. The problem is not enough qualified staff to work in the kitchen. They’d been trying to make do with fewer people but for food of that caliber, it’s just not possible. The inn part of the Inn remains open. They’ve only closed the dining option.
Lucky for visitors and locals, there are plenty of great restaurants in Port Stanley. But it’s distressing that Kettle Creek Inn is no longer serving food. Their website says they’re considering future options – pop-ups? Special events? – but for now, the kitchen is closed.
As of late last year, 180,000+ workers had left the restaurant sector across the country. They had to find other work when the pandemic shut down their workplaces. Many found better work. And there’s no way they’re coming back. They’re finding higher pay, less abuse from occasionally surly customers, and shorter and more predictable hours.
You might hear complaints that government incentives from the height of the pandemic kept employees fed while they chose not to work at all. But research by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives finds that theory doesn’t hold. They’re working, just somewhere else. And baby boomers are retiring without the younger people replacing them. It’s a seismic shift in the industry.
Although the book we’ve written over the last 39 years isn’t completely closed, we are in the midst of trying to figure out how the next chapter is to read.Kettle Creek Inn Dining page
Kettle Creek Inn, like so many places in our beautiful village, has a long and storied history. Tourists take photos out front, either at the welcome sign with the giant fish, or near the Inn’s large toads on the sidewalk. It’s the gateway from Schoolhouse Hill to wonderful shopping and Little Beach. Or along Bridge St. to the harbour. In short, it’s a wonderful place to stay. Sadly, it’s no longer a place to dine.
Another eatery is moving out of the village. The building on the harbour that houses Papa Joe’s Pizza has been sold. So the owners are closing it up at the end of business, Saturday, August 20. They do operate PJ’s Epic Eats on the Main Beach but there’s no pizza on that menu.