Plates are ready to be served for lunch and head chef Gus Krokas is on to the next dish. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Saltair Pub back in business after a long hiatus

Vandalism during last year’s windstorm kept the doors closed for many months

It’s been a long time coming, but the Saltair Pub is finally back in business.

The establishment on Knight Road hasn’t been open since before last December’s windstorm that knocked out power in the area for several days. It was during that time, owner Dave Prakash said, the Saltair Pub was hit by vandals.

Extensive damage was done inside the building and many items were stolen, including four TVs and precious antiques. Prakash said the diligence of Ladysmith RCMP resulted in some items being recovered.

Thieves took full advantage of the security alarm being deactivated during the power outage. The building required considerable clean-up before it could become operational again.

“Insurance would not cover it because the power was out and no security,” Prakash indicated.

“I had to use the cash flow from my other businesses to sink it in here.”

Prakash is happy that’s all behind him and the iconic location reopened the doors July 31.

“I welcome the people – the local people, the tourists,” he said. “We want to get the entertainment back weekly. We’re trying to work that out.”

Prakash also has plans to eventually utilize the former beer and wine store next door as a site for catering or special events. But that’s getting ahead of things, and the main focus at the moment is to bring back the customers.

Unfortunately, a large chunk of the busier summer season has been lost, but Prakash is literally just trying to pick up the pieces and make sure everything gets back to normal as quickly as possible.

“If I would have opened it sooner, it was in my best interest with more revenue in summertime than wintertime,” he conceded.

Staffing was obviously a top priority before reopening and Prakash called upon friend Gus Krokas as manager and head chef.

“He’s got a lot of experience with this kind of establishment,” Prakash pointed out. “He comes up front and talks to the people.”

The menu features affordable and popular food selections for lunch and dinner.

Prakash added Chelsea Kensall, who was previously a staff member at the Horseshoe Bay Inn, has been brought in as a server/bartender. He has six employees to start and will add a few more as demand requires.

“Good staff is very important,” said Prakash.

“Now that we are here, a lot of people are coming in. This is my favourite pub. This is a very classic place.”

Many people feel the same way about the building’s heritage style and the beautiful surrounding greenery.

“When I come in here, I feel happy because it seems like a paradise,” enthused Prakash.

The Saltair Pub is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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Chef Gus Krokas making a grilled chicken burger. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Jennifer Hickman whips up some salad in the kitchen. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Saltair Pub hasn’t been open since before the windstorm of last December. (Photo by Don Bodger)

It has indeed been a long wait for the reopening of the Saltair Pub. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Server Chelsea Kensall with some plates of luncheon food. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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