The grill of the iconic Tasty Treat location on Grand Lake Road will be fired up once again after the popular ice cream and burger shop was purchased by new owners based in Sudbury, Ont.
Hardipsinh Vaghela and his wife Nita Vaghela purchased the restaurant this summer without ever visiting it after they fell in love with its location and 60-year history.
“My instincts say ‘you know what, it’s worth it to try,’ so let’s try it,” Hardipsinh said during a phone interview from Ontario.
“We always wanted to go into the food business and now we have a chance.”
Soft serve ice cream was a key feature of the first Tasty Treat location, which opened as a take out spot in June 1960 on Grand Lake Road by the Dezagiacomo family. The burgers became a bit of a specialty, too, for the popular stop that was a take out only restaurant before a small sit in restaurant replaced it.
Proximity to a bus route, Cape Breton University and the Mayflower Mall were among the things Vaghela liked about the restaurant before its purchase.
When he came to Sydney this fall to finalize the sale, order uniforms and visit banks, the positive thoughts he heard on the restaurant made him feel good about the sale.
“I made a decision on the phone without seeing the property,” he said. “Without seeing anything, just reading a little bit about it and the location but when I went there I heard some good things about the restaurant so I said I think I made a good decision. But time tells.”
- Location: Grand Lake Road
- Originally opened: June 1960
- Original owners: Michael and Christine (MacDonald) Dezagiacomo
- Re-opening: December 2019
- New owners: Hardipsinh Vaghela and Nita Vaghela
After almost 60 years in business, Tasty Treat Drive-ins Ltd. filed for bankruptcy on June 28. According to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, its owners had total liabilities of $246,728 and assets of $207,100, as declared by the debtor.
There were two other take-out only restaurants under the Tasty Treat name through the years. One was sold to Northside resident Fred Squarey and is now known as Frosty’s in April 2018.
A third location in Howie Centre was bought by Louisbourg Seafoods Ltd. owner Jim Kennedy in May 2016. That building was torn down in March 2017 and a trailer advertising Louisbourg Seafood’s Mira Bay seafood products is now on the site.
Vaghela said the Grand Lake Road restaurant will keep the Tasty Treat name. The food will also be the same and two long-term employees have been re-hired to run the restaurant. The family friend who operates an Ultramar in Cape Breton and spoke highly of the Tasty Treat location while helping with the purchase is assisting with the restaurant re-start.
An additional four other employees have also been hired.
The only planned change so far will be with its operating hours.
While previous owners mostly operated the Tasty Treat Grand Lake Road location six months out of the year, Vaghela said they aim to make the burger and ice cream joint a year-round destination.
“We want to see how the winter is going to be, the first winter. Once we start it, we’ll have a better idea of how we will go with the timing. We will go from there. If we get a good positive sign from the community, then we will hire more people. That’s the plan at the moment.”
The Vaghelas are operators of gas and convenience stores in Ontario and one in Nova Scotia. They also plan to open another restaurant in Ontario at some point in the near future.
For now, though, the new restaurant owners plan to remain in Ontario, though, that might change.
“Somehow I like it and my future plan is to move down to Nova Scotia if everything works out great.”
The planned re-opening date is tentatively slated for sometime prior to Christmas.