Chef Brad DeClercq is working feverishly to get his new restaurant

Alberni cooks up deal with new eatery

The city has reached a five-year lease agreement with the Starboard Grill that opens the door for the re-birth of a Harbour Quay restaurant

The city has officially reached a five-year lease agreement with the Starboard Grill Ltd. that opens the door for the re-birth of the restaurant at the Harbour Quay.

Council approved the lease at Monday evening’s regular meeting, setting the rent at $1,800 per month.

Starboard Grill owner Brad DeClercq may be a chef by trade, but he is currently applying his construction skills as he works feverishly to complete renovations to the site of the former Water’s Edge Bistro.

His initial target opening date was Sept. 1.

But that has now been pushed back to mid-September, to allow him time to obtain a liquor license and complete all of the necessary renovations to the building.

The opening will be too late to catch the bulk of the summer tourist traffic, but DeClercq believes his recipe for success will prevail.

“I see the buses coming through now and that hurts a little,” he said.

“But with the support and the buzz we are getting, I’m pretty confident.”

DeClercq will be the executive chef of the restaurant and handle many of the administrative duties.

Owning his own restaurant is his dream, and the quay his dream location.

“I’ve had my eye of this building for a long time,” he said, adding the potential of the site has never been fully realized.

He knows previous owners have struggled at the location, but believes in his ability to turn things around.

“I’m not thinking I am going to get rich,” he said.

“I’m in it because this is what I love to do, and I know I can do it well.”

DeClercq has just begun the process of hiring staff for the new restaurant.

He said the business will create 12 to 15 jobs, including cooks and wait staff.

He is planning a soft opening around Sept. 15 for friends and “people who have helped us out along the way.”

Following that will be a staff night to familiarize the crew with the menu and serving practices.

DeClercq, a chef by trade with years of experience, is building the menu himself.

Once finalized, he will post it on the restaurant’s website: www.starboardgrill.com. For now, the chef says the food will be “West Coast, family-style” and will include as many local ingredients as possible.

He is remodeling the interior of the building to create more dining space, and a modern, open feel.

“I’m feeling good,” he said. “It’s coming together and we are right on budget.”