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Posted Oct 8th, 2014

Port Dalhousie is a mess.

Seriously, have you seen the commercial core lately? Ugh. Thank you, Port Place. 

Don't worry, though. I'm sure things will start looking up once the massive condo project gets going ... (Insert your own caustic comment here.)

Anyway, amidst all the present gloom in the Port business district, there appears to be a ray of hope. 

A new bar/eatery is opening at the old Treadwell's site by the harbour. 

This is of some significance since the departure of the upscale Treadwell's restaurant this summer for Niagara-on-the-Lake was seen by many in town as further proof Port, with apologies to Kilt and Clover, Murphy's and the Marketplace, was quickly becoming a commercial dead zone. 

Enter on to the scene Joe Medeiros. 

The retired food plant manager and west St. Catharines resident had been scouting out possible restaurant locations for some time. 

His son-in-law Ahmad Baghdadi is a chef — his most recent gig was at My Place in Fonthill — and it was always Medeiros's intention to back his desire to run a restaurant. 

Medeiros had Port Dalhousie in mind and, earlier on, had checked out the possibility of setting up shop in the long-vacant, somewhat iconic Lion's Tavern. But things didn't pan out. 

Then, he and his wife returned home from lunch in Niagara-on-the-Lake via Lakeshore Rd. and Port Dalhousie this summer, “and, lo and behold, Treadwell's was empty,” recalled Medeiros. 

“The light came on and away we went,” he said of the inspiration. 

He contacted Visco Holdings and secured the lease. 

The launch of Pier 61 Bar & Grill was about to begin. 

Work on refurbishing the building, which in previous incarnations housed Albert's Restauranting On the Water and Twelve Restaurant, started in October. The Medeiros family is hoping Pier 61 will open in the first week of December. 

“We're trying to refresh every aspect of the restaurant from the ceiling to the floor,” said Medeiros. 

By the way, in case you're wondering, there's a simple explanation for the name. 

The restaurant is, broadly speaking, on the pier and its address is 61 Lakeport Rd. 

It's getting harder to remember what hospitality services Port used to offer back in the day, which for these purposes is defined as two years ago. Treadwell's, though, was viewed as a high-end eatery. 

Pier 61, which will have a Mediterranean flavour, promises to be more cost-accessible. 

“We want to bring this location to the masses,” said Medeiros. “It's a big restaurant, we want to fill it. We also want to fill it with quality food, quality service and quality views. 

He described the Pier 61 as “upscale casual dining with value.” Kind of covers the spectrum, eh? It reminds me of the never-changing Parry Sound weather forecasts we get up at the cottage in the summer: Sunny with cloudy periods; chance of showers; possible thunderstorms later in the day. 

I joke because I can. 

C'mon, Pier 61 will have a pizza oven. How much more accessible can it get for the masses? 

Medeiros said there'll be plenty of appetizer choices, too, for those wishing to munch on something light while enjoying the waterside patio in the summer. 

“We think we have the right formula to be successful here,” he said. 

Good to hear. 

Because that formula has gone missing in Port recently. 

doug.herod@sunmedia.ca