New Liverpool café set to open in April

Brittany W. Verge
Published on March 23, 2016

Peter Leslie and Rick Conrad stand in the Dancing Chicken Café and Local Grocer. The couple have been working on the café for months and hope to open up shop in mid April.

©Brittany Wentzell

LIVERPOOL - The Dancing Chicken Café and Local Grocer is moving in on Main Street in Liverpool after months of rumours, and of course hard work.

Owners Rick Conrad and Peter Leslie are hoping to have the café, which is located in the same venue as the former Kentucky Fried Chicken, open by mid April.

 The café marks the start of a new adventure for the couple. Leslie, a former local, recently retired from his work with the Canada Revenue Agency. Conrad was the web editor for the Chronicle Herald, before taking a package deal from the newspaper a couple years ago.

“We’ve been talking about this for so long it seemed like it was never going to happen,” laughs Conrad.

 Leslie and Conrad lived in Halifax for most of their careers, however, they also bought property in Queens several years ago. They moved to Queens a few months after beginning work on the café.

 For months, renovations have been happening in the building and along with the renovations came many rumours, some of which, were started by Leslie himself.

 “This is a second career for both of us and we want to have fun and I was just being bad,” chuckles Leslie.

The outside of the Dancing Chicken Café. The café is located in the former Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on Main Street in Liverpool. Patrons will be able to eat outside when the weather is good.
Brittany Wentzell

Eating and shopping local

 The new eatery is all about local for the pair. The café was renovated by local contractors and many of the items in the café have been purchased or made locally, including shelves, countertops, chairs, and even custom made charcuterie boards.

 The menu will have a local flair, with as much of it being sourced from local farms and establishments as possible. Even the bread will have local ingredients – Hell Bay Brewing Company is providing spent yeast for bread. Eventually, the owners would like to have a liquor license and sell local suds.

“We’ve always been so supportive of local producers as much as we can,” says Conrad.

 Local produce, meats, and other products, will also be available in the grocery section of the café.

 “As our idea evolved over the last five years, we started to think wouldn’t it be cool to also sell the food we use in the kitchen and to be able to tell people ‘this came from here,’” says Conrad.


 The restaurant will be open from morning and through to the afternoon. Leslie, who will be doing most of the cooking, says he’s hoping to have some monthly, special suppers but for now they’re focusing on light breakfasts and lunch.

 “We’re hoping to partner with the Astor or maybe other activities going on in town, to do maybe dinner and a movie or something like that,” says Leslie.

 Leslie says he’s also hoping to bring back some traditional dishes that aren’t seen very often anymore like custard pie or a dessert called butterhorns.

 “I’m trying to revive a few traditional things… I make things called butterhorns that nobody seems to remember,” he laughs.

 Leslie and Conrad hope to have the Dancing Chicken open by mid April or at least before the Liverpool International Theatre Festival. They are also hiring two full time staff members.