The Northern Hotel, one of Fernie’s historic landmarks, recently gained new owners and operators, and Fernie residents and visitors can expect to see a totally new restaurant and bar in the historic downtown.
Local resident Jerry Nieuwesteeg leads a group of private investors who purchased the building. The group is currently working to revitalize the historic hotel with a focus on maintaining its character and charm, and putting a new face on the restaurant and pub.
“Our overall vision is to create a spot where locals want to come and one that extols the virtues of the historic building,” says Nieuwesteeg.
Preparations for the launch of the new restaurant are almost complete. Opening May 15, Las Tres Hermanas is a Mexican restaurant offering authentic regional dishes, traditional-style margaritas, and a festive atmosphere. It’s a perfect place for meeting friends, celebrating, or a dinner for two, and children are welcome.
Robert Kenig is the new Food and Beverage Manager for the pub and restaurant.
“With the restaurant, we want to ensure that we attract local residents and the tourist population,” he explains. “Our menu will appeal to traveled people, families with kids, and our staff will offer incomparable service to everyone who comes through the door.”
Kenig has an extensive background in the hospitality industry, and has earned the coveted designation of Red Seal Chef. His experience includes past roles with Fairmont Hotels, Canadian Pacific and Marriott, and most recently in the Yukon, at a hotel catering to international tourists.
The hotel will also open a new bar later in the summer. Eschwig’s at the Northern Hotel will be a great place to relax with a pint, enjoy a game of pool, shuffleboard and watch big screen TVs, all in a historic miner’s bar. They plan on serving authentic Mexican and Southwest bar food, and hosting occasional live entertainment.
Both Kenig and Nieuwesteeg are looking forward to the completion of the downtown revitalization, which they feel aligns well with their long-term plans for The Northern. The Victoria Avenue Centennial Project, underway now and set to finish mid July, will see Fernie’s 2nd Avenue improved with better pedestrian features like wider sidewalks, benches, ambient lighting, bike racks, and new landscaping and trees.
“We want to make changes, but we also want to stay true to the roots of the community,” says Nieuwesteeg. “As Fernie moves forward in a new direction, we’re working to build something that increases the appeal and vibrancy of the downtown.”