Sarah Bennetto O’Brien successfully raised more than $11,000 through the online crowdfunding website Kickstarter to help realize her dream of opening a local produce focused restaurant. Scapes will be opening in Borden-Carleton’s Gateway Village within the week.
©Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
BORDEN-CARLETON – It is a beautifully sunny day in Borden-Carleton and Sarah Bennetto O’Brien is flitting about her kitchen like a woman possessed.
A seemingly continuous stream of goodies are passed hand to hand out the door to her waiting guests, already munching on flaky pork-filled pastries, brightly coloured vegetable dips and crispy ginger cookies in her storefront.
They laugh and chatter about the food and hostess as a sweet Northumberland Strait breeze blows through the room.
Eventually the party moves outdoors and the guests sit around brightly painted picnic tables to chat and keep working through their food.
“She’s a great girl and she’s got a lot of spunk,” remarked Sandra Fraser.
“She’s got a lot of passion and I think she’s finally found something to dig her passion into,” added Robert McMillan.
With dessert well in hand, Bennetto O’Brien forgoes her apron and joins the conversation.
She thanks her guests for their support.
It’s because of them that there’s a sign on the front step stating: “Scapes. Opening soon.”
This is a dream come true for Bennetto O’Brien, an Ontario-born Holland College trainee, living in Borden-Carleton with her husband and young son.
“It makes me feel really glad to have that community support in my dream,” she said.
“I’m super, super thankful for all the support I’ve had. It’s a community supported restaurant.”
Back in February of this year, TC Media featured Bennetto O’Brien in an article about her efforts to raise $10,000 on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.com.
She needed the money to help leverage loans and buy supplies to meet her ambition of opening a local produce centered restaurant off the ground.
She ended up exceeding her goal, raising $11,550 from dozens of contributors across Canada.
“I’m still in shock,” said Bennetto O’Brien.
“It’ll probably only sink in when it’s like 800 degrees and I’ve been in that kitchen for 12 days,” she laughed.
Since that money came in she’s hit the ground running, scouring P.E.I. for the equipment and suppliers she’d need to set up her take-out and frozen meal focused kitchen in Gateway Village, which she’s named Scapes.
It’s been hectic to say the least.
“I don’t sleep anymore,” she said with a tired smile.
But after months of work she’s finally within striking distance of opening her business to the public.
Her plan is to open up sometime this week; exactly when depends on a few last minute touches.
This evening in particular was just a quiet get together with some of her strongest supporters, family and friends.
April Mackinnon drove in from Sackville, N.B. to lend support to her friend.
Bennetto O’Brien has always been a big supporter of hers, said Mackinnon, so she wanted to be there to encourage her friend on this path.
“She’s going to do amazing,” said Mackinnon.
“She’s basically starting a movement in Borden as far as I can tell,” she said, referring to the restaurant’s local-produce focus.
Even as she was saying this, a wayward traveler poked her head through the door to inquire if the restaurant was open for business.
Soon, promised Bennetto O’Brien.