Living The Dream

 

By Charelle Evelyn on June 25 2014

IT STARTS AT HOME FOR
EOIN FOLEY AND GARRETT
FEDORKIW. BOTH RAISED
IN SOCIAL HOUSEHOLDS,
THE FRIENDS AND COOWNERS
OF NANCY O’S
HAD PARENTS WHO WERE
ALWAYS ENTERTAINING.

They’ve recreated that atmosphere in their popular downtown Prince George restaurant to lucrative results.“It just felt natural to us,” said Foley. “When you have guests over, you treat them as guests, make them comfortable. We do that with the performers we have, make them want to come back.” When they opened their doors on Oct. 26, 2009, Foley and Fedorkiw wanted to give people a reason to come back downtown.

Sure, you could book a band or a comedian to play a hall, but before the performance starts or once it’s over, what’s to keep the audience hanging around? Good food, good atmosphere and an even better alcohol selection. Recent renovations have expanded the bar’s capacity, bringing in more liqueurs and expanding the beer list from 50 choices to 60. “We saw a real gap in the community,” Foley said, who still had two years left to finish on his Bachelor of Commerce degree from UNBC when Nancy O’s got off the ground. But Foley and Fedorkiw didn’t need a degree (though they both have one) to understand that treating people like the hired help wasn’t going to advance their vision for a vibrant downtown.“What we’ve learned from talking to so many [performers] over the years is that when they’re on the road, going to different towns there’s a lot of owners and managers and venues that don’t really treat them particularly well,” said Foley.

“We create an atmosphere which they themselves would probably want to hang out in. And they go, ‘We love this place. We just like coming here.’” And they tell their friends: when you go through Prince George, stop at Nancy O’s. “Almost never, ever do we seek a band to play here,” said Foley. “We’ve found a band to play here on a specific night probably five times in five years.” In its inaugural People’s Choice Awards for Northern B.C. and Cariboo Chilcotin Coast in 2012, BCLiving.ca readers voted Nancy O’s as the best live music venue. While the summer is typically a busy time for artists to tour, this year is shaping up to be unprecedented, said Foley.“We’ve never had so much live music booked over the next two to three months as we have this time right now. We have an incredible amount lined up.” In addition to supporting local

and regional talent, Nancy O’s also supports local food. Early last year, they began making a solid push towards localizing the menu where possible and in the spring of 2013 the owners made it a point to have all the meat on the menu raised and processed regionally. “And that’s been wildly successful,” said Foley. “We’re quite proud of the fact customers ask ‘what do you have for local stuff’ and we can tell them just about everything has local ingredients.” As they come up on their fiveyear anniversary, Foley said he couldn’t have imagined their 1261 Third Ave. space becoming what it is today when they started. “It’s been better than what we dreamed of. We’re happy – incredibly happy – with how it turned out.” Head to www.NancyOs.ca or Facebook.com/NancyOsPG for coming shows and featured menu items.

CHARELLE EVELYN

REPORTER FOR THE PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN

Journalist, west coast native, music lover. Made in Canada.

A2014Norm Coyne