The future is brewing

Heidi’s Restaurant plans to renovate to become restaurant/brewhouse

A local restaurateur is seeking to take her business to a new level.

Heidi Romich appeared before City Council at its regular Monday meeting, Dec. 10, with some exciting news about her restaurant, Heidi’s on Ninth Avenue South in downtown Cranbrook, which she is seeking to renovate into a brewhouse and restaurant.

Romich was accompanied by her daughter, Marlies Romich, and David Beardsell, her partner in the enterprise. Beardsell operates the Noble Pig Brewhouse in Kamloops, where Marlies worked while studying.

“It will be a bit of a new look for downtown,” Heidi Romich said, then showed a presentation of that new look. Both levels of the restaurant would be renovated, to provide a family-friendly area on one side — “a comfortable, multigenerational place to go,” she said.

“On the other side, we’d be taking out some of the walls, putting in varied seating, and maybe some garage doors (to facilitate) indoor and outdoor dining.

“It’s very exciting — we want to provide quality food, quality beer and beverages on-site, keeping everything as local as possible.”

Romich added that the brewhouse was “not intended to be a nightclub, but a comfortable place for people to go after work and enjoy.”

David Beardsell also spoke to Council. Beardsell is a Master Brewer, who studied his craft in Germany and England and who has worked throughout the world.

Beardsell said that having lived in Europe, “beer is not something that is frowned upon, but is part of everyday life. In the two and a half years (since the Noble Pig opened) we’ve never had to call the police, we’ve never had an altercation, and we’re probably one of the more successful restaurants in Canada.

“The fundamental belief that Heidi and I have is that food is the primary driver, but beer helps pay the bills.”

He added that he is already scoping out the housing situation in Cranbrook.

“I am fully committed to moving here, and getting the project up and running,” he said.

Heidi Romich said she was pleased to appear before Council, if only to dispel the rumours that “I’m closing the restaurant, moving, selling to Earl’s, that I’m dead or in prison. I heard them all.”

The councillors agreed that it was a most enjoyable presentation. Coun. Angus Davis inquired if the beer would be available offsite, which indeed it will be.

“We’re excited to something happening downtown,” Coun. Bob Whetham said. “It fits in well with downtown revitalization.

“And bringing culture to the consumption of beer is something that hasn’t been part of our traditions.”

Coun. Denise Pallesen asked about staffing levels. Beardsell said the Noble Pig employs 78 employees — 28 full-time with the rest being mostly students working part-time.

Romich said when the restaurant/brewhouse is up and running in Cranbrook, it will employ 55 to 60 staff, “a significant increase.”

Romich and Beardsell must now seek a special liquor license from the provincial government. Victoria will forward this application to the City of Cranbrook, who will then seek public input on the proposal. Should everyone be agreeable to the proposal, the application will then go back to Victoria for approval.