Articles: Cruising

The Café at Hope Bay

I recently learned of a restaurant that I have to share with my fellow boaters.  It is called The Café at Hope Bay and it is located on the northeast side of North Pender Island in Hope Bay.  The Café sits perched over the water with spectacular views across Plumper Sound to Mayne and Saturna Islands.  There is a public, self pay dock directly below the restaurant (check out the live web cam) and there are a few public mooring buoys out front. The anchorage in the bay has decent holding and great protection from west and northwest winds, though the ferry wake is a concern at night. 

I wanted to write about this restaurant because it is a great story to tell.  The original Hope Bay Store and heritage buildings were destroyed in a fire in 1998 and after several unsuccessful attempts by private investors to reconstruct the building, the historic site was to be auctioned to the highest bidder. Fearing that the development might not fall into the "right" hands, Hope Bay Rising Holdings Ltd. was quickly founded by a group of 27 dedicated islanders and they purchased the property. The Hope Bay Store opened for business on July 3rd, 2005. The construction was done entirely by locals and their hard work was recognized by the Victoria Real Estate Board and The Times Colonist with a Commercial Restoration Award.

Amanda MacLean and Rob Landa took over the restaurant in March, 2012.  Amanda was born a chef and had a dream of running a restaurant in this very location.  She had worked in the café for the previous owners and spent 5 years on Pender building a relationship with the locals.  Rob was not from a restaurant background but was a natural with the customers and learned quickly.  Together they have gained quite the reputation for outstanding service and amazing food.  They have received rave reviews on both Urbanspoon and Tripadvisor.

The best part of the story is that they were cruising on their sailboat, Prairie Rose, in Mexico when they received the call that the restaurant was available.  They got all the details together and essentially built their business on the back deck of their boat.  Proof that dreams really do come true.

The Café is open Wednesday and Thursday for lunch and Friday through Sunday for lunch and dinner (but closed between 3 – 5).   Check the website for summer hours as they plan to open seven days a week.   Reservations for dinner are recommended with the last booking taken for 7:30 p.m.  The phone number is 250-629-2090 and they say “don’t be afraid to leave your reservation on the machine”.



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