On a deck high above the Grand River in Paris, the owners of a new restaurant officially opened their doors during a grand opening ceremony Thursday night.
Kenu is now open for business above the Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe on Grand River Street North.
“I hope people take away outstanding service and excellent quality food,” Kenu co-owner Michael Spencer said. “We describe ourselves as providing a causal experience with North American comfort food.”
Spencer said patrons of Kenu can expect more than a dining experience.
“We have trained our staff to answer basic historical questions about the view, the Grand River, Paris and the rest of the county,” Spencer said. “There is so much to know about this whole area, so we hope they take away a piece of history.”
Bill Kennedy, the owner of the building where Kenu is located, said he is proud of the result of several years of work and development.
“This is the culmination of seven years of work on this building,” Kennedy said. “This will be a destination river view patio in Paris.”
David Johnston, general manager of economic development and strategic investments with the County of Brant, said he watched the development of the restaurant closely.
“I want to congratulate (the owners) on a very sensitive reuse of a building that deserved attention,” Johnston said. “When Bill first bought the building he came to me and said ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do with this, but it has a lot of potential.’”
Brant MPP Dave Levac said the building’s owners deserve respect for the work they have done.
“Some people would not have the courage to bring this building back to life,” Levac said. “You have given us a view like none other.”
The building that houses Kenu, as well as the Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe, was once home to Town of Paris offices, the Paris police and YMCA.
County of Brant Mayor Ron Eddy said he was impressed by the new restaurant.
“This is really beyond belief,” Eddy said. “This (building) has been the heart of Paris for so long.”