“I’ve gone from working in television and radio to government communications to selling chicken and fish,” said Stewart, the owner and operator of Dixie Lee’s Summerside location.
This June, Stewart is hoping to open his Dixie Lee location before the summer season.
“I’ve been told that it will take two months to get the building up. We’re on a bit of a time crunch, but we can pull it together,” he said.
It’s been a learning curve, Stewart added.
“It’s interesting to see how it all comes together.
“Everything has been on paper for a while, but now work has started.
“We’ve worked out an idea for the outside. Now we’re figuring out the inside colours and how we want to look.”
On Tuesday, work for the foundation is set to begin, provided there is not more wet weather, Stewart noted.
The new restaurant, that will seat about 40, is located across from the Harbourfront Theatre, and adjacent to the old Burger King.
When designing the building, Stewart wanted something that would fit in with the neighbourhood.
“I’ve visited multiple Dixie Lee sites in the Maritimes. And each one has its own personality to go with the people. I want that here in Summerside. So we’ve made it so diners can sit and look out at Spinnakers’ Landing on the balcony and outside seating.”
The site will include 14 parking spaces as well as on-street parking. Stewart’s operation is year long.
“I wanted to bring options to the area. Like most Dixie Lee locations, chicken will be the main option on the menu with fresh coleslaw made in house daily. But at the same time I wanted to include seafood options, which some locations have as well.”
Stewart is hoping scallops, shrimp, fish and chips and a lobster roll will make the menu.
“It’s been an interesting year. I think I’ve looked at every franchise model out there, but I like what Dixie Lee stood for and what they put forward,” Stewart said about deciding what restaurant he wanted to bring to the downtown Summerside area.
The best part of the experience has been hearing the memories of prior Dixie Lee patrons, said Stewart.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the recognition the name has on the Island. I’ve met so many people who have memories from the old Dixie Lee locations, whether it was going for dinner or having their parents or grandparents take them. It’s pretty neat.”