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Sunday lineup sign of success for Victoria eatery in new space after 33 years

Neighbours offer warm welcome to Pluto’s in Quadra Village
Pluto’s fits into its new location in Quadra Village. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

A small lineup on Father’s Day is a mark of success for restaurant owner Brun Dahlquist.

The day marked nearly a month since Pluto’s moved into Quadra Village from its longtime Cook Street location – a site slated for development. After 33 years in one place, the move to the former San Remo location near the corner of Hillside Avenue and Quadra Street was no small change.

“Change is a good thing in a lot of ways. It makes you look around and appreciate the things you do have and the things you did have,” Dahlquist said.

Owner Brun Dahlquist is pleased with the character and the space as Pluto’s fits into its new location at Quadra and Hillside. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

Even before opening, the neighbourhood seemed excited with people popping in and offering encouragement while renovations were underway.

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While the new site is similar in seating – 77 – there are some big changes in physical space. Instead of a large square space and ample patio, the new Pluto’s features a long rectangular space augmented with surprise nooks for booths and a small but covered deck, ideal for year-round use.

An older building, it holds character, which is key for Dahlquist. The recognizable neon Pluto’s sign is up above the front door, though Dahlquist plans to do some work to make it the centrepiece it should be.

The eatery quietly opened about a week before the latest restaurant restrictions due to COVID-19 lifted. That gave staff a week to get their feet wet providing takeout before opening the new dining room – at half capacity.

Starting with takeout, the numbers steadily grew, Dahlquist said, with new faces visiting the new space, and with plenty of street parking and a small lot out back, old friends are dropping in as well. After some 10 months closed, there are those who profess a need for Pluto’s peanut butter pie and other favourites.

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All the staff from Cook Street are also on the roster, alongside a couple of new faces, including one individual who worked in the space when it was San Remo.

“It’s nice because he knows some of the locals that have always been coming in,” Dahlquist said. “I’ve been really, really lucky with the staff.”

Like most restaurateurs, he looks hopefully toward July 1 when the province anticipates more loosening of COVID-19 restrictions on eateries. He’d love to see the restaurant beyond the mandated half full.

In the meantime, Dahlquist contemplates a grand opening – still in the maybe phase.

Pluto’s indoor space at Quadra and Hillside. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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