As the sale process continues for Tumbler Ridge’s newest hotel, a new restaurant is close to putting down roots.
A lease for the space was signed last Wednesday (February 24), said co-owner Shirley Nahulak, who plans to operate the Western Steakhouse with her daughter, Shareen Walter. The pair hope to open the business in late March or early April.
“We’re happy for the opportunity to come to Tumbler Ridge,” said the long-time Chetwynd resident. The mother-daughter team brings a wealth of experience with them, having operated the “Wooly Bully Pub” on Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue for eight years. The Western Steakhouse is an original restaurant concept, and is slated to be open from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m., seven days a week.
“It’s a great location, and Tumbler Ridge really needs this,” said Nahulak. In addition to providing the restaurant and lounge, the Western Steakhouse will also cater the adjacent convention centre and provide hotel meal service. Nahulak expects the restaurant to be fully licensed by opening day. Her vision also includes promoting some events at the convention centre, such as hosting mixed martial arts pay-per-view screenings and some live music.
Amidst the restaurant lease signing, there have been about 25 phone inquiries since the hotel property was listed for sale at $7.5 million early last December, said realtor Gary Haukeland from NAI Commercial, the Vancouver based realtor charged with selling the hotel.
The hotel, a four-storey building with 102 rooms, was ordered to be sold last November, after a B.C. Supreme Court order resulting from a request from one of the hotel’s creditor’s.
A small number of B.C. and Alberta hotel operators have looked into the property, and three or four potential buyers have made site visits in recent months, said Haukeland. No offers have been made. The hotel remains listed for $7.5 million.
Since last June, the hotel has been in receivership. Prior to that date, hotel owner Gary Brar had been attempting to open a Smitty’s restaurant, and had invested in equipping the kitchen and furnishing the space.
A local venture had proposed to open a restaurant called “The Garden Path” earlier this year.