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Wild Blueberry BakeryWild Blueberry Bakery

 

Wild Blueberry Bakery
by Rhona MacInnes

When Ian Backs, a handy-man, actor, and poet, and his long-time partner, book editor, web and graphic designer, Kera McHugh moved to the coast 6 years ago, they had a shared history in the hospitality industry and a dream of opening their own restaurant. This year, that wish came true. In March, the foodies took ownership of what was then the Wild Blueberry Bakery, and have since started building their vision of Wild Bistro. Say the pair, "We fell in love with the space the moment we saw it. We bet our house, we bet our whole lives on this place."

The Wild, tucked in a mini strip mall on lower Gibsons Way, has a comfortable ambience that speaks volumes about its laid back, community-minded new owners. Strewn with newspapers and self-realisation books from their personal library collection, the calm and cozy bistro invites reflection and dawdling.

The first thing Backs and McHugh did was to transform the decor, "it used to be beige, and it’s definitely not anymore." The walls are now covered in bright hues – lime, mango, cranberry and eggplant, yummy colors on par with the innovative new menu items being introduced.

"Truth be told, bakery was not what we had in mind, but it was a great opportunity to get a foot in the door," says McHugh. The two share kitchen duties, with Backs taking on the made-from-scratch daily soup – think curried chicken and mango, creamy tomato and chorizo and Friday’s popular chock-full seafood chowder. A 15-year baking hobby translates easily into Backs’ signature specialty breads, such as walnut and bleu cheese, pesto, rosemary and asiago, and the always-intriguing chili-chocolate.

"Our goal is just to offer a comfortable place to come for a reasonably priced meal." Plans for a liquor license are already in the works, as is a new super-secret menu makeover that the two are excited about. "We’re going for cutting edge comfort food," says McHugh.

In keeping with the coffeehouse vibe, the two have introduced Saturday night Euchre games, trivia nights and play- and poetry-reading evenings, which are a reflection of Backs and McHugh’s interest in the local arts scene.

"So far so good," say the two, as their vision comes to life. As McHugh puts it, "We walked into a gift. The previous owner had a loyal clientele, and great product, we’re simply trying to improve upon it."



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