Yarmouth's new Cape Forchu lighthouse café to open in June

Local restaurateurs partner to launch The Keeper’s Kitchen

Published on April 19, 2017

Shane Ward, owner of the Red Shed, and Jonathan Joseph, who owns Argyler Lodge with his family, are teaming up to operate the Keeper’s Kitchen at the Cape Forchu Lighthouse this summer.

©Carla Allen

YARMOUTH - Two popular and successful regional restaurant owners are teaming up to operate a café at Cape Forchu Lighthouse in Yarmouth County this summer. 

Chef Jonathan Joseph’s family owns Argyler Lodge in Argyle and Shane Ward runs a seasonal, booming business at his Red Shed food wagon on Water Street.

For me it’s not just making money, it’s about making Cape Forchu the icon of the province that it should be.

Jonathan Joseph, manager of the Argyler Lodge and co-operator of the Keeper's Kitchen

So how can these busy entrepreneurs add another restaurant to their lives?

“We both know we’re busy and it would be too much for one of us, but if both of us go on board we can share the responsibility,” says Ward.

Joseph says the plan is to use the Argyler’s kitchen as a commissary to prepare many of the items for the lighthouse. At least one person on his staff is interested in working at the new enterprise.

“She’s been with me five or six years and she wants to do this,” he says.

Ward will be checking in on the Keeper’s Kitchen more frequently because he’s closer to town.

Tentative hours for the restaurant are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. A soft opening is planned for sometime in June with the season ending in October.

“We’re going to try and keep with the ferry schedule,” says Joseph.

Soups, salads, sandwiches, lobster rolls, seafood chowder and hot entrees, like rappie pies or savoury pies, are planned. Later on, some “experiences” may be offered, including lobster suppers and dining under the stars.

The menu will be small and will include seasonal dishes and favourites.

“I have a very good rum raisin bread pudding that I make,” says Joseph.

Because of the limited dining space, some of the menu items will be tailored so customers can take their meal outside on the lighthouse grounds for a picnic.

Ward adds that they are discussing bringing items in from other food businesses in town so people will get the “flavour” of the area.

“But we won’t have any deep-fried stuff,” he says.

Both men are expressing excitement about the new offering.

“For me it’s not just making money, it’s about making Cape Forchu the icon of the province that it should be,” says Joseph.

Patti Durkee, a director with the Friends of the Yarmouth Light Society, says their organization is “pumped and excited” about the new development.

“Things that we’ve been working on for a couple of years are finally coming together,” she says. “We think this will give people a whole new outlook. This summer is going to be hopping.”

Meanwhile, starting in late April the exterior of the main building will be retrofitted and redone, funded by the Municipality of Yarmouth.  The work may require closure of the site for some days before the busy season.

The Friends group is taking responsibility for the interior of the building by giving it a facelift. The walls will be painted, light fixtures changed and an old carpet switched out for hand-stained spruce board flooring.

“We’re trying to take it back to what it looked like when it was built, which was back in 1912,” Durkee says.

The gift shop and museum will tentatively open for the season starting the long weekend in May.