Perfect St Patrick’s Day
It was beautiful walking alongside the glittering St Lawrence river at Prescott. Basking in sunshine, blue sky and a balmy 15C – life felt good again. After walking and observing the geese, unfortunately no snow geese yet, we had lunch in O’Heaphys pub close by the river.
After asking a few questions, I found out that behind the bar and serving us was Samantha McGuire, granddaughter, and Christine Mackie, daughter, of our local and recently awarded recipient of the Leeds Grenville Small Business Centre Lifetime Achievement Award Cheryl Mackie. Owner Cheryl and her granddaughter Stephanie run the well known fine dinning restaurant The Brigadoon in Oxford Mills.
Having lived in Kemptville since 1984, I went into the old general store before Cheryl and her husband purchased the building in 1990 and started turning it into a restaurant. I watched and talked to them as the renovation construction took place. I remember thinking, as they poured lots of money, sweat and hours of devotion into their dream project, whether they would ever succeed.
I thought who would drive out to Oxford Mills for a meal and a pint when there were already several restaurants established in Kemptville.
However, once the conversion had been made and it opened as restaurant, it became obvious that it was not going to be another local ‘watering hole’. I seem to recollect, but won’t swear to it, that Cheryl implemented a no baseball cap allowed policy. I believe that decision was aimed at discouraging some of the locals just propping up at the bar for a few beers without buying any, or very little, food, the backbone of the hospitality industry.
That made me think even more of how the restaurant would survive. Every five years or so, I would think and be surprised that the restaurant was still there and growing in popularity.
Our family and visiting relatives have enjoyed many wonderful meals and happy memories in The Brigadoon over the past 32 years. Cheryl and her family have made an amazing impact on the local community. I wish them well going forward in still what presently are difficult times