The pandemic shuttered this Placentia cafe, now owner has sights set on redevelopment

·2 min read
Philip's Cafe is shut down amid the ongoing pandemic, but owner Philip Meade has big plans for the future of the space.  (Submitted by Philip Meade - image credit)
Philip's Cafe is shut down amid the ongoing pandemic, but owner Philip Meade has big plans for the future of the space. (Submitted by Philip Meade - image credit)

When the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic swept the province, the owner of Philip's Cafe in Placentia was forced to shut his doors in March 2020, after a decade in business. Now he's hoping to rise from the ashes and redevelop the site into a brewery, pub and pizza restaurant — but there's a hitch — Philip Meade says he needs an investor to make the project a reality.

Philip Meade told CBC News he had spent time as a private caterer just to keep from going under completely, but public health restrictions, lockdown, and no summer travelers from Marine Atlantic's Argenita ferry run made staying afloat impossible.

"With restrictions, and travel and so on, people aren't out. I'm a local, there's a small population here depending mostly on travelling people," Meade said.

Keeping staff on board has also been a challenge, said Meade, noting people don't want to take the risk of being potentially exposed to the highly contagious virus and then unknowingly transmitting it to senior members of their families.

Therefor, Philip's Cafe has run its course, Meade said.

"It's been 10 years, it's been good, it's done really well," he said. "Now I'm going to rebirth on the same property."

Opening a new door

Although closing the cafe wasn't what Meade had imagined a decade ago, he has big plans for the same space when the pandemic eventually lets up.

A family pizza restaurant, expanding the 22 seats he already has inside his building to 100, and the province's next craft brewery — Pirate Brewing Company — are what Meade has in store for the community.

"I've checked out equipment, I know everything I need, I've got a business plan put together, I just last week joined the St. John's Board of Trade," he said.

Philip Meade is a pastry chef by trade, but is pivoting his business away from a cafe and into a new restaurant and brewery.
Philip Meade is a pastry chef by trade, but is pivoting his business away from a cafe and into a new restaurant and brewery.

Philip Meade is a pastry chef by trade, but is pivoting his business away from a cafe and into a new restaurant and brewery.

Meade said he needs an investor and about $1.3 million to bring his vision to life. He's hoping his connections and support through the board of trade will help him get there.

His sights are set on July. 1, 2022 for the launch of his next venture.

"I will need a year and a bit from now until that date to build this, to build the brands, to actually construct the building," he said.

As for redeveloping his business during the pandemic, he says this is the right time to start.

"Most of the people by [that] summer will be vaccinated and I believe people will be moving again and will be ready for beer and pizza."

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