The Pier Sports Bar
Along the beautiful shore of the Blind River on the outskirts of the Town of Blind River is a newly revamped business that’s been serving locals and travellers alike since the 1950s.
Kyle Gionette’s parents purchased the business over fourteen years ago. Longtime entrepreneurs, the Gionette’s saw potential in this restaurant—once known as The Star, Northern Lights, and most recently, Pier 17—in this premium and scenic location along the Trans Canada highway.
Now, it's rebranded as The Pier Sports Bar, with a new menu and updated decor while offering the same great service in a fantastic waterfront location.
Once a fine-dining, full-service restaurant with an attached motel and banquet hall, it is now a full-service sports bar and restaurant. It still includes the attached motel and a golf simulator facility is planned in place of the banquet room. This was Kyle’s vision, rooted in a time when he grew up learning his business acumen from his parents. He then applied his passions and ideas to make it happen. He told me that before making changes, he spent time talking with community members and learning what they wanted to see while understanding changing demographics. He decided to run with this, all with the full support of his mom and dad.
Kyle and his staff started designing a new business model during the pandemic shutdowns. “The COVID-19 restrictions actually helped the business make the transition. We started with a small take-out menu, then moved towards offering a larger menu to the outdoor patio as restrictions eased. This fall, we are offering a full menu to our in-door diners and sports enthusiasts. We were able to gradually offer something, which was easier for our staff and our clientele.”
Not only did the menu get a refresh, but the interior of the restaurant got some updates with new flooring, brightened-up freshly painted walls and beautiful new solid ambrosia maple tables made by Big Chief’s Garage. “So far, the response from our customers to all of this, has been overwhelmingly positive," said Kyle.
On the team is Patti Quick as Manager of The Pier, she brings many years of experience in the hospitality industry to the business and is the welcoming face of The Pier. Joe Morningstar manages the kitchen and as a trained chef, his well-honed skills with food are what keep customers coming back for more. In total, fifteen staff members, including motel staff, help make The Pier operate.
The craft beer-battered fish and chips and The Pier burger are customer favourites, according to Patti. Along with the fish tacos and appetizers like Buffalo Cauliflower bites and Poutine are also good sellers," says Patti.
“We make most of our sauces, dips and vinaigrettes in-house,” said Joe. This includes house-made coleslaw, tartar sauce and made-from-scratch dips, aioli, marinara sauces, and Pico de Gallo salsa. Daily specials may include Pulled Pork or Chicken Parmesan with rotini pasta. Vegetarian and vegan options are popular, and The Pier will cater to any other dietary needs. “Everything on our menu sells well,” said Kyle. “We have done a lot of travelling and will incorporate and refine what we’ve tried and liked in other jurisdictions and bring them here for our customers”, added Joe.
On tap are several domestic and imported beers, including local craft brews from Manitoulin Brewing, and Stack Brewing from Sudbury, Ontario. Choices of wines include Ontario VQA, as well as fun and creative cocktails like the “fully loaded Caesar with chicken slider”.
As the owner, Kyle feels that it’s important while offering a comfortable stop to stay and eat for travellers along the Trans Canada Highway, to also be involved and participate in the local community, like sponsoring the local Beavers Junior A Hockey Team and offering a “Beavers After Party” at The Pier with discounts on food options.
Kyle also owns a local gym called Unleashed in Blind River, and he offers discount memberships and specials for his members at The Pier. Golfing is big in Blind River and The Pier welcomes and supports golf tournament groups. “We welcome opportunities to support other local groups and organizations however we can," says Kyle.
I see a bright future for The Pier Sports Bar. The delicious food, the scenic surroundings and the friendly staff are second to none.
The Pier Sports Bar - Restaurant/Motel
Owner Kyle Gionette, Manager Patti Quick, Kitchen Manager/Chef Joe Morningstar
1 Causley Street, Blind River
PH: (705) 356-1717