This is the story of how one man, Richard (Dick) Davidson, took his vision and all his culinary experiences and formed them all together to create Beaux Daddy’s Grill House.
Ten years ago, he bought the property that for 65 years, had been known as Uncle Franks Supper Club in Thunder Bay. Initially, he had several ideas for the property but eventually settled on renovating the former family restaurant with a new spin – something Thunder Bay hadn’t seen yet. After numerous trips to New Orleans and several dozen trips to various restaurants throughout the world, Dick dreamt up Beaux Daddy’s – the place where Louisianan roots are reintroduced to their original families – the Acadians. (For the historical background, refer to “Our Story”). This piece of History was his inspiration for the “Hot” and “Cold” dishes on the menu as well as the many theme rooms throughout. (To view theme rooms, click “Sneak Peak”).
To take his passion for History one step further, he recognized the historical value of the building that was once Uncle Franks. He understood that the former Supper Club had a long standing reputation as a fine dining establishment and he wanted to acknowledge it publicly. He had a replication of the infamous “Uncle Franks” neon sign made and placed above the kitchen, along with the bright yellow coach lanterns that used to be displayed on the outside sign. There is also a display showcasing some of the former menus from that era as well as a framed menu from 1956 with original photos of the previous owners, staff and patrons.
For four years, in-between running his five star fly-in resort, the Guardian Eagle and his other business, the Sunset Inn and Suites, Dick spent his time driving back and forth from Sioux Lookout, to Thunder Bay, to Minneapolis – procuring just the “right items” for his restaurant. He was meticulous in his planning. His vision was a restaurant ideal for people to come and share new food and to bring back ‘dancing and romancing”. He envisioned live music – the Blues, Jazz, Swing, Country – couples laughing, sharing a bottle of wine and dancing after dinner. He laboured over every minor detail within the restaurant as well as on the menu. He was never often seen without a tape measure or a spoon in his hand. Everything had to be perfectly aligned and everything had to taste perfect. He was repeatedly questioned as to when the restaurant would be open for business; he reiterated the same statement each time – “Not until we are completely ready”. He wanted everything to be perfect.
When an opening date was set for May 14th, 2012, Dick wanted to arrange several soft opens to get feedback from potential customers and staff. For six weeks, every Tuesday and Thursday, Dick hosted private dinner seatings. All food and beverages were complimentary, and the only thing he asked in exchange was for customers to complete comment cards that were completely honest so any changes could be made before we opened to the public. In those six weeks, Dick graciously hosted dinners for more than 600 people.
His creativity saw the evolution of the M.G. (Mardi Gras) Horseshow Bar with a unique liquor dispenser proudly displaying all of the “rack” brands, theme areas such as the Acadian Lodge and Café du Monde, to the wrought iron balconies protruding from above the bar to create the sensation of being on Bourbon Street.
Beaux Daddy’s was a labour of love for this man. He thought out every detail from the fresh ingredients in all of the dishes to the chaise lounge in the Ladies Restroom. He wanted his place to be known as “Smart Casual” where the food had “moderate portions at reasonable prices”, but most of all, he wanted your Beaux Daddy’s experience to be one of fun and laughter.
Sadly, shortly after the Grand Opening, Dick was diagnosed with terminal cancer to which he succumbed to three short months later. His last visit to “his house” was for a family celebration where he sat in the French Restaurant and looked out into Bullfrogs and Gators where the band was playing. He watched a couple get up from their table and begin dancing right beside it, in the middle of the restaurant. His visions come to full fruition. And he smiled.
Beaux Daddy’s Grill House is now under the proprietorship of Christopher Davidson, Dick’s youngest son. Chris has been in the restaurant industry for more than two decades and for the past fifteen years has owned and operated his own restaurant, Desperate Dicks and Durty Nellies located in Sioux Lookout, Ontario. Chris plans to take his experience and his Father’s dream and make Beaux Daddy’s one of Thunder Bays finest and most fun establishments for many, many years to come.
Forever grateful for his visions and courage to chase his dreams, we are proud of what he has created and will continue to aspire to make this the place for sharing, dancing and romancing.
“Lassay Les Bon Temps Rouler!”
(Cajun – Let the Good Times Roll!)