BUSINESS BEAT: Music, casual dining mingle at The Beach House

Restaurant picking up slack where predecessor left off

Kate Phoenix

A sleek, mahogany piano sits tucked into a cozy corner downstairs in Cordova Bay’s newest eatery.

It’s quiet on this day. But if Kate Phoenix, owner-general manager of The Beach House restaurant, has her way, the area will be a big part of the success of her latest venture.

“This was sold by Alison Piano to McMorran’s back in 1920,” she says. “When we called them to come and refurbish it, they said ‘hey, we sold that piano originally.’”

The McMorran name may no longer be on the business – the longtime family run operation shut down in 2010 – but the hope is that the musical atmosphere it cultivated over the years will continue at the new Beach House.

“It’s a musical place … (and) music is a big part of a lot of people’s lives at the restaurant,” Phoenix says.

Already doing a brisk business since opening in late June, The Beach House is joining with the Victoria Conservatory of Music for a fundraiser event Aug. 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sales of two menu items, Dough-Re-Mi pizza and Fa-So-La-Tini cocktails – with or without alcohol – will benefit the Conservatory.

During the day, conservatory trained musicians such as rising violin star Ceilidh Briscoe, plus VCM faculty, will perform upstairs in the main dining room and downstairs in the bistro.

“We felt it would be a wonderful opportunity to partner with the new Beach House,” said conservatory CEO Jane Butler-McGregor.

“Music was a huge part of the culture and the past of McMorran’s, and the fact Kate and her team are still wanting to put music forward tells us she wants to let that musical legacy live on.”

Phoenix, an Edmonton native and former vice-president of marketing for Rogers Chocolates, says the plan is to offer patrons a regular menu of light jazz or classics with their casual dining experience.

The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is closed on Tuesdays. They will be available for large parties, upstairs or down – but never both at the same time. Phoenix says they want to make sure there is always someplace available for people who want to drop in.

The Beach House is at 5109 Cordova Bay Rd. Call 250-658-5224 for reservations or information.

Naples-styles pizzeria opens its doors

Victoria’s first Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria welcomes guests for its grand opening today at suite 128 in Market Square.

The Canada-wide franchise, making inroads into B.C., features pizzas made with imported Italian flour, and topped with fior-di-latte mozzarella. The downtown Victoria eatery cooks up their pies in a unique bell-shaped oven.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturdays. Call 250-590-2648.

Movie nights at Mayfair starting this week

Mayfair Shopping Centre hosts its fifth annual free outdoor drive-in movie series.

The movies start with Princess Bride, which will be projected onto a three-storey screen in the southeast parking lot near Blanshard and Finlayson streets. Subsequent flicks include Jaws (Aug. 15) and The Goonies (Aug. 22).

Start time is 9:30 p.m. for the first two and 9:15 for the Aug. 22 show. Parking passes are available at the Mayfair concierge desk the Saturday before each movie and can be redeemed from 6 to 9 p.m. on show nights for a Mayfair gift card.

The food court will be open until show time on movie nights.

Business goings-on around and about town

United Way of Greater Victoria has appointed Jo-Anne Silverman as its director of fund development. Silverman comes to the charity after spending nine years as advancement manager with the Camosun College Foundation … Oak Bay Beach Hotel has added Frank Berke to its sales team. The native of Tennessee owned and operated Brilliant Ideas Canada Ltd. for 24 years, with stores across B.C. and Alberta. He lived and worked in the Caribbean managing a luxury resort for six years … Vince Herlaar has joined the financial planning firm of Hatch and Muir as an associate after working in the credit union industry. He can be located at 202-612 View St. … Pacific Christian School grad Ashley Schenk, who will attend Houghton College in New York this fall, won a $500 bursary from Bob Lane Insurance Services in Brentwood, a division of SeaFirst Insurance Brokers. The money will help her pursue studies in math and actuarial sciences.

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