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Fort Cafe kicks off fundraiser for reopening

Nov 09 2012

A groundswell of support appears to have convinced the owners of the Fort Street Cafe to try it all again. The popular cafe, which will close its doors at 742 Fort St. in December, has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise $100,000 to establish the cafe and its "fringe entertainment" lineup of live music, quizzes, open mic and theme nights in a new home.

According to a company release, the success of relocation is predicated on being competitive as a restaurant first and foremost given it operates under a food-primary licence. That's where the money comes in.

The cafe estimates it will cost $40,000 to establish a new kitchen, $20,000 to establish the bar, $25,000 for the stage area and $15,000 to cover interior improvements.

"With a limited kitchen, the Fort Street Cafe has never had the potential to be a competitive dinner destination. This ultimately caps the potential liquor revenue while limiting opportunities for growth," the release said.

To raise the money, the cafe has undertaken an online crowd-funding campaign - kapipal.com/supportthefort.

For contributions of $20 or more, donors will get a ticket to a Friday quiz and a Support the Fort pin-badge. For $75 or more, donors get a ticket to the gala opening of the new venue. For $100 or more, donors are repaid with $125 to spend at the new location. For $250 or more, donors get a personalized chair at the new venue. For $1,500 or more, the Fort's quiz team will come to you to host your own quiz.

As of Thursday, the campaign had raised $4,075. The location of the possible new venue has not yet been made public.

When the six year-old cafe announced it had to close, there was a large outpouring of support online and in-person.

Co-owner Benji Dukes admitted at the time it was "a bit crazy, very exciting, overwhelming and very positive," and noted at the time if that kind of support continued he and partners Jon Perkins and Melissa Byrnes would embark on a fundraising campaign to establish a new restaurant.

The cafe is open at its current site until Dec. 15.

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