The Chef n’ Pigeon Lake is a local watering hole and restaurant at Pigeon Lake, Alberta. But three lockdowns have hit the restaurant hard.
Since he opened, Chef n’ Pigeon Lake owner Nathan Zukiwski has always made it a point to support local organizations, like the nearby volunteer fire department, and he sources local ingredients to support businesses and farmers in and around town.
He’s a job creator and a community booster, but, like so many in his industry, Nathan's restaurant has been hurt by three lockdowns on dine-in service put in place by the United Conservative government in Alberta over the course of the last year to combat the spread of coronavirus cases.
That’s why Nathan decided that the last government mandated closure of his dining room was one he was willing to defy.
If he’s not open, he needs to lay off staff and he won’t be able to support local initiatives. He had to do something.
So Nathan re-opened his doors in objection to the public health restrictions killing his business, however, nearly immediately, Alberta Health Services hammered him with an inspection and threats of fines, closure notices, pulled permits and more.
Nathan closed the dining room and moved to outdoor dining only — a tough thing in Alberta when spring snowstorms are the norm.
I visited Nathan on his patio in Pigeon Lake to hear how the lockdown is brutalizing the restaurant industry and his message for the politicians that drove him to take such desperate measures to survive.