Jackfish Dundee's closed its doors on Halloween, but the popular Charlie Lake pub could be reopening as early as Dec. 18.
Charlie Lake residents Greg Hornshaw and Bev Hayashi are close to finalizing a deal to buy the pub, which they intend to keep as Jackfish Dundee's.
“We fully believe that the model of Jackfish Dundee's is a great model, a successful model,” said Hornshaw in an interview with the Alaska Highway News.
“We are going to make the subtle changes to put our fingerprint on the place, but we’re going to bring back some old menu favorites.
“We’re going to see what’s on people’s minds as far as what they’d like to see, we’re going to incorporate the existing with the expectations of our clientele, and some of our own ideas as well.”
Unless you count a brief gig in Hornshaw’s teenage years, neither he nor Hayashi have a restaurant background. “I’ve just been a patron of Jackfish over the years,” Hornshaw said.
The couple started talks with the pub’s previous owners, Mike Champ and Trynna Dion, after Hornshaw learned the pub was up for sale.
“We negotiated quite a bit, and they were fantastic through the whole process. They were decent with us and they were very fair, and very helpful,” Hornshaw said.
Champ and Dion have agreed to mentor Hornshaw and Hayashi to get the reopening off the ground without a hitch.
“They’re going to tell me what’s going right, and hopefully not too many things are going wrong,” Hornshaw said.
“Without their input and their help, and their commitment in that fashion, this deal was not going to work.”
About 90 per cent of the former Jackfish staff has agreed to stay on and work under the new management.
“They’re a well-oiled machine, and they really know their end of the business,” Hornshaw said.
Hornshaw, who left his job in the oil patch, and Hayashi, who worked in office administration, came to Fort St. John in 1991. They moved to Charlie Lake in 1999.
“We came to Fort St. John... with a five-year plan and we’re still here, so it’s working for us,” Hornshaw said.
The new owners are tying up the remaining legal loose ends and are looking ahead to a reopening date of Dec. 18.
For the first while, they’ll have a reduced menu, with plans to roll out a new menu and a grand reopening on the first weekend of February 2016.