© Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer
Jean Offer in The Doctors Inn private dining room.
Tyne Valley restaurateurs waiting to hear back after environmental health officer visited property in June
TYNE VALLEY — Owners of a by-appointment-only dining room in Tyne Valley remain hopeful the province will allow them to continue to operate beyond October.
Paul and Jean Offer have been serving meals out of their Tyne Valley home, the Doctors Inn, for over 30 years. It started with a bed and breakfast but in recent years they’ve dropped the inn portion of the business and continued to take reservations for small group meals.
They take just one reservation per day, select fresh-from the garden produce and fresh from the market meats
“We’re trying to get them to make a little niche for us,” Jean Offer said Monday, explaining she and her husband are hoping the department will “grandfather” them in because of their long history of providing the intimate and small group seating.
“This is part of our income; it helps keep us afloat,” she said.
A key issue with the department is that the meals are prepared in the same kitchen that the Offers use to prepare their own meals.
The Offers invited environmental health officer Joe Bradley to visit their property, which he did on June 25. The couple is awaiting a response from Bradley, hoping they can continue their service.
“We’re different than anyone else. Nobody else goes out in the garden and picks vegetables two hours before dinner.” Jean Offer of Doctors Inn
The couple operates a market garden on their Tyne Valley property and are regular vendors at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market. Government has given them the green light to continue selling at the farmers’ market the jams, jellies and other preserves prepared in their kitchen, but has given them until October to close up their private dining room.
Jean Offer said they have been receiving a lot of public support for their request to be allowed to continue operating.
Celebrity chef Michael Smith, she noted, even tweeted support for their cause: “What happens when the health department runs amok and loses common sense - Flush away 30 years,” Smith wrote.
Smith had stayed at the Doctors Inn and dined there while the Offers were still in the bed and breakfast business.
“We’re different than anyone else,” Jean Offer said. “Nobody else goes out in the garden and picks vegetables two hours before dinner.”
Offer said many diners, including a booking from Oregon, indicated they are aware this could be the Offer's final year in business and encouraged them to pursue their goal of remaining open.