Lacey-Lou Tapas Lounge: Roving Refinery Review

Posted on July 4th, 2014 · Posted in Roving Refinery

Lacey-Lou logo

Our most recent Roving Refinery took place on June 23rd at Lacey-Lou Tapas Lounge. Our host for the evening was founder and owner Natasha Grau-Ensminger. Natasha was born in Winnipeg but was raised right here on Vancouver Island, on an organic farm, no less! She worked in the hospitality industry during her high school years, and studied Hospitality at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops before returning to Vancouver Island.

Lacey-Lou occupies the ground floor of 1320 Broad Street, a building which is owned by the University of Victoria – part of the legacy left to UVic by Michael Williams. As the space had not been upgraded in over 5 decades, a substantial amount of time, hard work and money was needed to bring the interior space up to code so that it could be operated for food services. Costs associated with all the unexpected work created an immediate need for a capital infusion. The team’s solution was to launch their own Indiegogo campaign to help raise the needed funds. In addition to support from friends and family, the campaign caught the eye of a young local investor who eventually became the major shareholder in the enterprise, with the Business Development Bank of Canada, the major lender.

In their own words from their Indiegogo campaign page: “Over a year of planning went into the creation of Lacey-Lou’s, but no one could predict the challenges we would encounter when renovating a space that hadn’t seen any major improvements in over 50 years…In preparing the lounge for its opening, the team encountered many unforeseen issues in the structure of the space, dealing an expensive blow…Behind old plaster walls and under the floors we found structural issues that would set us behind 4 months on our projected opening date, and double our renovation costs. By the time we discovered this, we had invested too much money into the project to start over elsewhere. Countless volunteers put in thousands of hours to minimize costs, however we could not avoid certain costs that had to be done by professionals in order to comply with building code requirements.”
At our Roving Refinery, the courteous staff of Lacey-Lou served us a wide range of menu items for us to sample. Dishes included Thai Chicken Sliders; Grilled Ham, Cheese and Pineapple Sandwiches; Bacon Wrapped Dates; and Apple, Bacon and Brie Panini. All of which were excellent. Several attendees also placed orders for the Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Prawns, which was deemed delectable by all who tried it.
Our generous attendees donated a total of $45 cash, and a can of food for Our Place Society. The lucky winners of the draw this time around were Robert and Janice, each receiving a $25 gift certificate to Lacey-Lou Tapas Lounge.

Delicious, fresh prepared food made of locally sourced ingredients, friendly, attentive service, cold local beer, walls filled with fine art, and live music every night of the week. I ask you, what more could one ask for in a local, new urban public house?


The next Roving Refinery will take place this September. Watch for an announcement in September’s newsletter, and until then, have a great summer!