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Frank McNie's New Fish & Chip Shop
Introduction as at 24th May 2005

When we sold McNie's Fish and Chips in Etobicoke our successful business of 16 years, and decided to move to Niagara-on-the Lake to open a Bed and Breakfast, we were looking forward to the change. A change of pace, a change of scenery, a different approach to providing good food in a welcome atmosphere- everything suggested we were letting go at the right time, the company that bought our business intended to make a chain of restaurants from our concept so that was a nice thought, perhaps one day” McNie” would be mentioned in the same breath as Colonel Sanders. We eased into our new life in the McNie fashion, offering our breakfast guests an array of home baked goodies - fresh bread, scones, tea biscuits, and an old family recipe Welsh loaf, June’s shortbread became a great favorite and was carried off to the far corners of the world. We enjoyed talking with our guests and we found that people left saying they would be back, and they did come back, the next year. Ah the off-season no guests for a few months, time to do all those things you just don’t get a chance to do while running a busy restaurant.

One day after shoveling the snow I was watching yet another rerun of Jamie Oliver, June was in the kitchen following her passion for experimenting with recipes, perhaps tonight would bring forth yet another version of medieval apple pie. This may sound idyllic however one of us eats like a bird leaving me to scoff great swaths of irresistible delicacies, I began to think of myself as a capon, my hobby of making sausage Ayrshire bacon and a wide variety of savory meat pies did not help in this regard. We were already missing the adrenalin rush of running a busy restaurant so the idea was hatched to create a kicked up version of the business we had sold.  In the off-season trips to the U.K. High Streets kept us busy, looking into new recipes and ideas, delectable savory pies, Steak and Ale, Growlers, Cornish Oggies, Chicken pot pie, Forfar Bridies, Lincolnshire pork sausage, Lorne sausage, oh wait until you taste these. The resurgence of Pie and Mash and Cornish Oggie shops on the U.K. High streets only added fuel to the fire. The taste of a great Ayrshire bacon roll still brings tears to my eyes.

Now where to open? For two years we searched for just the right venue, we had to be near enough to lots of people who would appreciate High Street Fare, we know our Fish ‘N’ Chips  will be well received and by extension probably our other British goodies.

The long search is over and the wait was worth it, we found a bankrupt tavern on Underhill road amidst Toronto’s most concentrated ex–pat British community of Donmills. After a month of negotiating with the Landlord we have agreed on a very good lease with 6 months free rent to renovate, we will now tackle the Bailiff who is acting on behalf of The Liquor Control of Ontario.

So here we are about to open up a new Fish and Chip restaurant. Over the next couple of months you will see how we set about making the changes that will turn this empty restaurant into a place that we want.

Aye yours,

Frank and June

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