It’s looking like the Fox & Hounds will open in Ladysmith this fall.
Ladysmith council recently agreed to issue a development permit to permit alterations to the existing building at 11 High St. to enable the British pub-style restaurant owned by Jane and Trevor Ivens to move forward, and a lot of renovation work has been going into the building, known to many as the old Home Hardware building.
Jane Ivens says they are on track to open this fall, and they are looking at opening at the end of September or in early October.
“It’s still in progress,” she said. “Work is going ahead, and we’re doing lots and lots of renovations. It’s definitely on track. We haven’t had any major, major delays so far.”
Ivens says the restaurant, which will be open every day of the week, will be very similar to the Fox & Hounds they operated on Milton Street in Nanaimo.
“The Fox & Hounds in Nanaimo was a cozy, full-on British pub-style restaurant,” she said. “It’s a British menu, and because we’re a pub-style restaurant, it means we welcome children as well.”
Ivens says service will be very casual, as diners will come in, wander up to the bar where there will be a chalkboard menu and order their food, and they can pick out their table.
There will be 16 draft beers, and the menu will be the traditional Fox & Hounds menu, such as bangers and mash, ploughman’s lunches, steak and kidney pie and shepherd’s pie, explained Ivens.
“We’re more about the beer and English food, that’s our forte,” she said. “It should definitely remind all those Brits of back home.”
There will be a conference/party room inside with space for about 30 people, which will be great for Christmas parties and events, explained Ivens.
The Ivens family is proposing minor exterior alterations to the building to accommodate a pub-style restaurant with 80 seats. The upper floor will be used as a residence and office, according to a staff report from Felicity Adams, the Town of Ladysmith’s director of development services.
According to Adams, the owners are proposing minor changes to the building façade that respect the existing style of the building, and the colour scheme will not change. They are proposing reducing the size of the existing front windows with additional siding in the same red paint colour, adding a window on the east end of the front façade, adding five evenly-spaced windows on the first floor on the east façade, and adding window trim that would be a consistent colour and design as the existing windows.
The proposed signage, which adheres to the Town’s signage bylaw, includes a hand-crafted projecting sign and large fascia sign. Signs will be front-lit by gooseneck lighting.
In terms of parking, restaurant use requires the provision of one stall per five seats. Sixteen parking stalls are required for the restaurant, while the residence and office on the upper level also require the provision of two stalls, for a total of 18 required parking stalls. Adams says the building has a parking credit of 18 due to the building size and the past retail use. One parking stall is required to be located on site for the residence.
The Town’s Heritage Revitalization Advisory Commission has reviewed the proposed façade modifications and signage and approved the proposed changes.
Fox & Hounds will be the fourth mid-Island pub owned by the Ivens family, along with the Pig and Whistle and Fibber Magee’s in Nanaimo, and the Black Goose Inn in Parksville.
The Ivenses will be providing updates on their Facebook page, The Fox and Hounds, as they get a clearer picture of their exact opening date.