Patrons have been stealing the menus from Kerrisdale’s Cheshire Cheese Inn.
One regular took a coat of armour.
Deb Anderson asked owner and president Derek Cassidy Wednesday afternoon for a memento for a regular from her Ryerson United Church choir.
Anderson’s lived in Vancouver for only two years but her choir has frequented “The Cheese” for 23. “That’s how I knew I was welcome, when I was invited to The Cheese after choir,” she said.
Anderson stopped to give Cassidy a hug after lunchtime on Halloween because the Kerrisdale “local” was to close its doors at midnight.
The entire block on West Boulevard between 40th and 41st is being demolished to build a four-storey commercial and residential building.
So the 76-year-old flew in from his winter home in Mexico two days ago to bid his longtime cooks and customers adios.
Cassidy came from Liverpool, England to Canada in 1968.
The Cheshire Cheese Inn was Cassidy’s first foray into the bar/restaurant business. “In 1979, the Elephant and Castle hadn’t been open too long and I was sitting in the one downtown,” Cassidy said. “And I was having a beer [and] I said, well I could do this.”
The first Cheshire Cheese Inn opened in Dunbar in 1979. “I found a great location on the West Side, lots of Brits,” he said.
The Kerrisdale location opened in 1983 and the Lonsdale Cheshire Cheese in 1986. Cassidy’s son, Allan, owns the Dunbar location, his business partner Richard Slaughter owns the one in North Vancouver.
Some online restaurant reviewers describe Kerrisdale’s Cheshire Cheese as old and tired. “There’s no question about that,” Cassidy said. “But I have people coming around crying their eyes out to say goodbye because it’s an emotional stretch for the people who live in the area, many of them come here every day.”
Staff posted signs about the closure in the restaurant six weeks ago.
Ninety-four parties reserved tables for Halloween night.
Regulars like that they were known at their local, that servers knew their “usual,” and that they could get a meal and a beer for a good price, according to Cassidy.
“I may open up in two years time,” he comforted one well-wisher who recognized him from Dunbar.
The developer is giving Cassidy the first right of refusal to return to the block.
Cassidy says he’ll see how physically and mentally fit he’s feeling then. “I might open a similar operation but it would have to be more upmarket price wise to cover the costs and we would also cater more to a younger generation because older people are moving out,” Cassidy said. “Even in England pubs change.”