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Sidney’s Boondocks Bar and Grill closes after 35 years

Owner Andrew Hansen cites staff shortages for closure
Sidney’s Boondocks Bar and Grill on Fifth Street has closed its doors. Owner Andrew Hansen cited expenses and staff shortages for the closure. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Another longtime restaurant is closing its doors, this time in Sidney.

Boondocks Bar and Grill owner Andrew Hansen this week announced the closure of the restaurant after its purchase three years ago.

“There are a lot of great people in Sidney, and great support during the toughest of times,” he wrote on Facebook. “(I) just wish we could have made a bigger difference in the community.”

The business has operated in Sidney for 35 years and its closure comes just days after the closure of Central Saanich’s Sassy’s Restaurant, which had operated for 43 years.

Hansen later told Black Press Media in a message over social media that the business did its best under very hard circumstances. “It was a good run, but the (business) just couldn’t sustain itself with trying to catch up from COVID-19 and much higher costs afterward. Staff shortage also (was) a main factor as training costs money and the staff you do hire right now are very green or have not ever worked in the hospitality industry.”

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Hansen, who has listed the business for sale, said he is not 100 per cent sure what will happen next for the restaurant or the building on Fifth Street. Ultimately, he would like to see another hospitality establishment in the location.

Hansen said the closure affected about 15 staff. As for his own future, Hansen said he plans to stay in the community, while working as a heavy-duty mechanic. He had retired from that profession after 25 years when he purchased the business from longtime owners Jenn and Sean McNeill in 2019, two years after the business moved to its Fifth Street location from a historic building on First Street before its tear-down in 2017. The couple had owned the restaurant for 32 years.

Hansen eventually returned to his old profession to help subsidize the business. “I’m going to stay turning wrenches now to try and recover financially from the last three years,” he said. “I don’t think people realize just how much the hospitality industry was affected during all of this.”

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Hansen is grateful for all those who supported him. “There was a lot of support during and after COVID-19 and that’s what hurts the most.”

He sounded especially proud about the business’s focus on live music of all genres when other businesses were shying away from booking such entertainment. “Now there are so many businesses having live music in Sidney,” he said.

“My hope is this continues both for the musicians and for the residents of Sidney. I would absolutely love to see the (municipality) bring the (Thursday Street Market) back to the streets and have music playing again this year.”

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