TISDALE — The restaurant torn down last week in Tisdale went by many names through the years, and just as many owners.
Most recently it belonged to Sean and Alison Levesque and was known as Calista’s, named after their daughter. They owned the property from December 2013 to December 2018.
Sean Levesque said he didn’t have a specific favourite memory from the restaurant.
“I enjoyed when friends would pop by before we would open to chat and have coffee. Or evenings when we had friends in and we go to sit at their tables and chat,” Levesque said.
“The best part was always when our regular customers would come and visit. Sunday brunches were fun too.”
Built in 1968, the building originally housed the Palace Restaurant and was owned by Sam Yick.
In 1972 it was purchased by Andy Renaud and his family. The Renauds renamed the business Stone Henge Inn, featuring a restaurant and a licensed dining room with a dance floor. The name was from a band Andy’s brother played in, and the business was managed by their dad.
“We had entertainment for three nights a week and we served Chinese food as well and then we removed a wall and made it for of a nightclub in about 1973. So there was a dance floor and a bar and a lounge,” Renaud said.
He remembers it as successful business.
“People would come in from the bar 10, 11 at night, but it was full so we could only let them in as space was available – it was that busy at that point in time.”
The Stone Henge Inn was almost a Nipawin business.
“We made a deposit on some land, but somebody got ahead of us,” Renaud said. “So we ended up driving through Tisdale on the way home and stopped for a meal at the Palace Restaurant, which was at the beginning under the Yicks ownership. We stopped for lunch and asked him if he wanted to sell and he said ‘Yes,’ and we bought it.”
The family would own the restaurant it until 1977, with it was sold to Dwight, Gordon and Eileen Clunie.
The reason they would give up a business if it was successful? The hours.
“It was long hours. Really, really stressful long hours. We did the janitor work, some of the cooking, the waitressing, the bartending, the janitor, the dishwashing, everything. It was hard and we were inexperienced in the restaurant business, but it was successful and made a profit and sold it for a profit and moved into real estate.”
Under the Clunies the business became Harvest Steak House, before it was sold again in 1979 and became Venice House.
After that is when the Levesque family took ownership.
Renaud says he can’t think of a specific favourite story from the inn – there are too many.
“I remember a couple farmers from Bjorkdale wrestling on the dance floor one evening, and my dad was the bouncer and he had to make sure some people left because they were either underage or, you know – there were so many good stories.”
Renaud said the seeing the building torn down brings sad feelings.
“Progress is progress. I can see something else going there, but it always – there are so many memories it has a little bit of a sad feeling.”
Levesque’s feelings on the building are similar.
“We'll always miss it,” Levesque said. “Just as my family and I will always miss the good people of Tisdale. I think a lot of people have at least one memorable moment that can be attributed to that place. The tear-down is somehow appropriate in that we always need to move forward.”