Surf Pub is open

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Monday, June 2 2014

Summer has arrived and the Surf Pub is open.

Ben Grafton and his partner Penny Sherk held the grand opening for the Surf Pub this past weekend, featuring performances by Jordan Pritchett on the Friday and Saturday night.

To say the place was packed would be an understatement, although the still-cool evening on Friday meant most people were inside rather than on the famous Surf Pub patio.

A soft opening had been done a couple of weekends earlier. Grafton, who’s running the kitchen while Sherk keeps things going in the Pub room, said the soft opening was good as it gave them a chance to see how islanders reacted to the menu choices.

“It wasn’t that we weren’t ready, we were.”

He said thanks to the preparation, things were running smoothly on grand opening night.

The menu has exactly what islanders expect from the Surf Pub (burgers, fries, et cetera) but there are plenty of other choices to make as well.

Including fish picked right off the boats in Comox Harbour.

Grafton sad, “We have a really dynamic menu we put together. People can pick and choose what they want.

“The menu is not set. There are changes all the time and if people want changes, they get them. Because we can.”

Part of the reason he can change things up so easily is 90 per cent of the menu is made in-house from scratch. 

“We’re grinding our own meat for the burgers; we’re making our own buns.”

The “something standard and something new” theme extends to the pub side as well, as they will be bringing in different beers throughout the season.

Grafton said for those people who “love the burger and love the Fat Tug, it’s going to be there.

“But if you want to try something new every time you come in, you can do that.

“We’re really embracing the idea of making this an excellent experience for people.”

He said that so far people have been really positive and have been coming in to say how glad they are someone is opening the Surf up. 

“They’ve been enthusiastic with what we’re trying to do here.”

Ben was the last chef at Silva Bay before it closed down this past winter, so he is familiar with cooking for Gabriolans.

He’s been living on Gabriola since July 6 last year.

“So I’m not quite here for a year, but I know this place has vivid memories for people. 

“I feel, as a non-islander, that it is a privilege to try and incorporate the history of this place in to what we’re doing.

“To honour what this place is.

“The Surf has such character you have to work with it; at the same time putting Penny’s and my style on it.”

The plan is to be open every day except Tuesdays.

Part of that is Ben and Penny will be purchasing their fish fresh right off the boats in Comox, and need the Tuesday to make the trip and re-supply.

The other part, Ben said, was also to give them a day to be able to enjoy the island they have moved to.