BY SUE GRACI
THE Port Dover Masonic Hall knows how to do breakfast!
Shawn Snively, to be more specific, knows how to make a mean omelet. With choices including ham, onions, peppers and cheese, to name a few, diners can order an omelet made to their liking and Shawn will deliver.
At left: Shawn Snively works several burners cooking omlets at the Masonic Lodge breakfast.
Often juggling four burners at a time, he manages it all with a broad smile. This is a man who enjoys people and cooking.
“We started doing this about a year ago,” he says, and they are seeing more and more people coming each month. “I cook eggs every morning of the week at home for the kids so I’m pretty used to it.”
“I’d wanted to join (the Masons) for a long time, my grandfather was a member here, but I had a hard time finding out how to do it,” he told the Maple Leaf during the most recent event. “I finally went to an open house in Waterford” and the rest is history.
For only $10.00 per person, made to order omelets, as well as hash browns, baked beans, toast and fruit cocktail are all available for diners. There is even a $12.00 “hungry man” breakfast for those with a big appetite. Kids are not forgotten, and they eat for only $7.00 per person. Coffee, tea and juice are also included in the price for all three options.
This is a family run event and families are welcome. When the Maple Leaf attended a breakfast, there were never fewer than a dozen people sitting down to freshly cooked omelets, with a steady stream of people coming and going.
Founded in 1861, Erie Lodge #149 built their current building, located at the corner of Main and Nelson Street, in 1929, specifically to honour one of its members, Grand Master John S. Martin. He would later go on to be the Minister of Agriculture and Food.
The membership of Erie Lodge #149 had fallen from approximately 125 at its peak to the mid-40s in the 1990s. Currently there are about 85 members. Some families have had six generations in the Lodge.
Upkeep of the building and property is a constant expense. Shawn Snively came up with the idea to hold a fundraising event, and he also came up with the breakfast bar theme. The downstairs, where the breakfast is held, is bright and airy.
“Every little bit helps,” says Shawn, of the money raised by the monthly breakfasts, which goes towards renovations and upkeep, as well as to support the Lodge’s charitable work.
This is an event that was new to Port Dover in 2019 and they hold the breakfast on the third Sunday each month, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., says Ali Snively, busy helping out in the kitchen, making sure the rest of the breakfast dishes are ready.
“This is as good an omelet as I’ve ever had, anytime, anywhere,” was the verdict of Julie Colbran. She and her husband Neil are visiting from Australia and thoroughly enjoyed their breakfast. “We didn’t expect so many choices!” she enthused. They have visited Norfolk County several times as their daughter lives in Simcoe and they are fans of the entire area.
“For $12.00, you can’t beat the breakfast,” said Jim Lombardo, a Port Dover firefighter and owner of Carpet One who was having breakfast with several members of Erie Lodge #149, Paul Goodwin (a past Master) and Ian Mitchell.
“It’s always good food, hot and fresh,” added Ian, who noted that Shawn came up with the idea and handles all the preparation along with his wife, Ali.
Says Ali, “I’m so glad (Shawn) joined. It’s like a great little family. And we have three kids so it’s good for them to see us getting involved and giving back to the community.”
In fact, Conner Snively, Shawn’s son, could be seen bussing tables and helping out in the kitchen.
The next third Sunday of the month breakfast buffet at the Masonic Hall is Sunday.
However, the next event at the Masonic Hall is Saturday, March 14th, from 7:00 p.m. to midnight; a St. Patrick’s Day celebration complete with Irish stew and Guinness, a live band with bagpipes and fiddles, and door prizes. At a cost of $20.00 per person, this is sure to be another hit.