New cafe on Main Street, The Lucky Bean, offers light lunch fare and local brewed specialty coffees in heritage building

The first time Matt Clendinning set foot on the Island he fell in love.

“I had friends move here three years ago and I came down to help them with renos on their home,” he said. “I just knew this was the place I wanted to be.”

Clendinning’s love-at-first-sight experience with Prince Edward Island motivated him to move here from Ottawa. After 10 years as a commercial account manager with Canada Post and a couple years in the service industry managing nightclubs, it was time for a change.

“My original plan, before coming to the Island, was to buy a van and take off with my dog and just travel around,” he said. “That may still be in my future, who knows, but for now I’ve found where I want to be.”

And where he wants to be is in Montague where he bought the old Bank of Nova Scotia and is running his cafe, The Lucky Bean, out of the heritage-designated building.

The old bank is better known to Islanders and particularly folks in Montague as MacDougall’s. The two storey brick building, originally built in 1921, has housed a number of businesses over the years. It was a bank until 1973 when Gerald MacDougall bought it. He opened and operated the very popular MacDougall’s Diner. He then sold it to his sister Audrey who continued running the diner until 2001. Then came new owners and a restaurant called Doc Johnston’s which ran until 2009. Dr Lewis Johnston was a dentist who saw patients in his office on the second floor of the building for over 47 years. In 2009 the building changed hands again and those owners called their new business Sir Isaac’s Restaurant and Mister Gabe’s Pub.

Clendinning said the cafe offers simple fare at fair prices; salads, sandwiches, pastries, and daily specials. “We have gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.” He also has specialty coffees and all the beans are roasted locally. “And our roasters are Caledonia and Receiver.”

The Lucky Bean is the newest spot to grab a specialty coffee in Montague photo credit: Cheryl Young/Salty

He said the business has been well received. The building had been vacant for some time and he said he feels like he’s part of a new wave of local entrepreneurship and economic reinvigoration of Montague the Beautiful.

“I’m seeing a lot of familiar faces now, a lot of return customers so that tells me I’m doing something right,” he said.

So his plans to be a vagabond with a van and a dog are on hold for the time being. He said Montague feels right.

“It’s like there is a new age happening here in Montague,” he said. “I really love it here.”

About Rod Weatherbie

Rod Weatherbie is a writer working in the hospitality industry. He spent a number of years in Toronto as a member of the financial press before returning to PEI. Rod has published one piece of short fiction, one book of poetry, and has had work published in Red Shift, the Antigonish Review, Mitre, and the Toronto Quarterly. He has also recently co-produced, co-directed, and acted in a stage production of old television shows.

He also likes writing about food. Go figure.

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