Some­thing dif­fer­ent

Syd­ney food and bev­er­age baron Danny El­lis build­ing out­door din­ing room-lounge on water­front

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF news@cb­post.com

Board­walk eatery will be some­thing dif­fer­ent.

If you’ve ever grabbed a drink in down­town Syd­ney, chances are Danny El­lis was in­volved at some point.

He’s the Daniel in Daniel’s. He started the Capri. He built Gover­nors. And he’s a for­mer found­ing part­ner in the Old Tri­an­gle.

Now El­lis is adding an­other name to that list: the Port­side.

The Syd­ney food and bev­er­age baron is in the midst of con­struct­ing what he says will be “nicest out­door deck” in town.

“This is the nicest view in Syd­ney,” El­lis said Wed­nes­day dur­ing a walk around the site between the for­mer Royal Cape Bre­ton Yacht Club and the cruise ship ter­mi­nal. “You’re look­ing at the cruise ships, you’re look­ing at the iconic Big Fid­dle. We’re right down on the water­front, there’s boats com­ing and go­ing. It’s an awe­some sight. I love it.”

While it’s in­spired by the beer gar­dens in Hal­i­fax and Charlottetown, the Port­side, which El­lis said will be open Sept. 1 or sooner, will dif­fer in a few key ways. The com­bi­na­tion out­door din­ing room-lounge will fea­ture Nova Sco­tia wines and spir­its, authen­tic lob­ster din­ners, and a se­lec­tion of beer from lo­cal brew­eries, all served on 300-seat deck over­look­ing the har­bour.

Per­haps most im­por­tant, there won’t be port-a-pot­ties. The sin­gle-level, fully ac­ces­si­ble fa­cil­ity, which will end up at around 2,400 square feet, has five sec­tions, in­clud­ing two large wash­rooms, a kitchen, a walk-in cooler and wall of beer taps, and a stage.

El­lis said the idea for the Port­side be­gan with a con­ver­sa­tion he had with the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity about a year ago.

“They’re open for business and they want to lo­cate things and ac­tiv­i­ties for tourists,” he said. “They want to en­hance the board­walk, and what can I con­trib­ute? I know food and bev­er­age.”

El­lis is leas­ing the 6,000-square-foot prop­erty from the CBRM from June 1 to Oct. 30, with an op­tion to re­new that must go to coun­cil to ap­prove for up to five years. His com­pany paid $1 for the month of June and will pay $1,000 plus HST a month from July to Oc­to­ber.

El­lis said be­cause the Port­side is mod­u­lar and doesn’t have a foun­da­tion, it can be moved any­time with­out af­fect­ing the tax­payer-owned prop­erty.

“We’re not leav­ing a foot­print here. We’re not de­stroy­ing any­thing. We’re ba­si­cally a park­ing lot,” he said, adding that he be­lieves the pub­lic, like the CBRM, will be pleased with the fi­nal re­sult.

“I’m not a new op­er­a­tor — I’ve been around a long time. They’re com­fort­able what’s go­ing to be here will be prop­erly run, prop­erly main­tained, and will be a ben­e­fit — not a detri­ment — to the cruise business and the gen­eral pub­lic.”

De­spite all of his ex­pe­ri­ence, El­lis said the Port­side rep­re­sents a first for him.

“I’ve never built some­thing with all out­door seat­ing, and with Cape Bre­ton weather be­ing what it is, I’m not hold­ing my breath that the weather is gong to co-op­er­ate when we get open,” he said. “Hope­fully the weather will be more favourable than not.”

CAPE BRE­TON POST PHOTO

Danny El­lis stands in front of the Port­side in Syd­ney on Wed­nes­day. El­lis is build­ing an out­door din­ing room-lounge on a mu­nic­i­pally owned prop­erty between the for­mer Royal Cape Bre­ton Yacht Club and the cruise ship ter­mi­nal.

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