Move over Captain Highliner, Ivar and all the others. Captain Andy has climbed aboard the fish and chip ship.
It’s been all hands on deck since Captain Andy’s opened its doors in the Chemainus Public Market Monday. People can’t get enough of their fish and chips and there’s a definite void being filled.
“I guess because it’s been a long time since there’s been any in this town,” said Donna Middlemiss, who’s serving the role of Captain Andy for now.
Middlemiss (nee Sauve), who turns 60 in December, was contemplating retirement when market manager Laurie Douglas reeled her in to cook up and dish out the fish and chips in the restaurant. To say people have been a little eager for the opening is an understatement.
“Monday was just crazy, 110 plates,” said Middlemiss.
Everyone was especially anxious that first day to be among the first patrons. “When it was 10 to 11, there was a big lineup in the lobby,” noted Middlemiss, who has an extensive background in food service and restaurants around the area.
She started at a very young age washing dishes at the Haida Way restaurant in Chemainus.
“I was getting $2.65 an hour,” Middlemiss recalled.
Of her many years in line cooking, Middlemiss spent a dozen at the Doghouse Restaurant in Duncan and 10 years at the Saltair Pub when Peter Mathews was the owner before working five years in the deli at 49th Parallel Grocery. She did all the daily specials and the soups and sauces during her days at the Doghouse.
“Now I’m back slaving over fryers again,” she quipped.
“People have known about my cooking in this town for 30 years. They’ve always liked my food.
“I’ve been doing fish and chips since the Doghouse. Fish and chips was popular at the pub, too.”
Salmon fish and chips have slipped their way into peoples’ consciousness and palates. It’s offered at Captain Andy’s, along with choices of either cod or halibut. Home cut fries, poutine and popcorn shrimp are popular accompaniments.
“We do chicken strips as an alternative for people who don’t like fish,” Middlemiss added.
There’s also a delectable beef dip on the menu, so a little something to satisfy everyone.
Middlemiss is loving the opportunity to work in a new kitchen and adores the decor.
“They did a beautiful job in here,” she said.
Captain Andy’s is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Middlemiss, the mother of two sons and grandmother of five, will be cooking up a storm for a while before she decides when it’ll be time to retire for real and keep family time at the top of the menu.