New Brunswick

93-year-old tea room reopens in Sackville

One of Sackville's oldest businesses reopened this week under different ownership.

One of Sackville's oldest businesses reopened this week under different ownership.

Mel's Tea Room had been run by four generations of the Goodwin family until they sold it in late June.

Ken Mikalauskas and his wife recently bought the tea room — a business that started as a fruit and ice cream parlour in 1919.

"We didn't want to see it close down like so many small businesses in town so we wanted to keep it going, keep it going as Mel's and continue with the tradition," Mikalauskas said.

Melbourne Goodwin, the original owner, purchased Cahill Block in 1944 and relocated the tea room to its current location in 1945.

The neon sign that juts out from the building is the original, dating back to the 1950s.

There are booths, a jukebox and a row of swiveling stools that line the counter. Merv Crooker says not much has changed since he first started eating there in 1964.

"Mel's and the Marshlands Inn are about all that's left of the old businesses that I can think of. Yes, it's very nice that it's still a restaurant, I'm pleased about that," Crooker said.

Mikalauskas spent four weeks renovating, cleaning and updating the kitchen, but tried his best to keep the diner's character and old charm.

He says he feels the weight of running a business with such deep roots in the community.

"Everyone was very concerned, as to what was going to happen here, I can understand that because even when we heard that it was for sale and that it might close, we thought that just can't happen."

That's what convinced the couple to buy it.

Mikalauskas say Mel's is more than a restaurant, it's an institution.  

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