Popular Grand Bend bar, restaurant reopen after four-week shutdown

·2 min read

A popular Grand Bend restaurant and bar have reopened this week, nearly a month after the owner said he was forced to close because of problems renewing insurance.

Both hot spots for beachgoers along Lake Huron, Willie’s Beach Bar and The Tipsy Pelican on Main Street had been closed since Aug. 19 because of an open claim in court dating back to 2019, owner Valante Karamoutzos told The Free Press earlier this month.

The restaurant reopened on Thursday and the bar is set to open Friday.

“I think it’s great,” said Jeff Pacheco, president of the Grand Bend and Area Chamber of Commerce.

“They’re such strong staples in our community, and it’s nice to see them back in business making some revenue,” he said.

Karamoutzos, who did not respond to requests for comment this week, had declined to specify the 2019 claim because it was before the court. A statement of claim shows Willie’s Beach Bar is named in a $7.5-million lawsuit over a 2019 Canada Day altercation between two former junior C hockey players that left one with a permanent brain injury.

The injured man and his family launched the lawsuit against the man who punched him outside the bar that night, along with Willie’s Beach Bar, its owner, and a bartender and manager who are alleged to have served both men alcohol leading up to the fight. The claim contends, among other allegations, that the bar’s employees overserved booze to the men and were not trained to notice when patrons consumed too much.

Willie’s Beach Bar and Karamoutzos issued a statement of defence denying all the allegations, claiming any injuries or losses sustained by the injured man were caused by his own negligence.

Statements of claim and statements of defence contain allegations not proven in court.

cleon@postmedia.com

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Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press