(photo: Jan Cox)

Uncle Mike’s vision

Mike Perry opens The Crazy Gringo in Summerside

Way Up West | by Jan Cox

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Mike Perry Jr. has a vision and a life credo, “When you do the right thing, good things happen.” Mike obviously is doing the right thing. Good things are happening in Summerside. His fourth eatery recently opened on Water Street. The latest restaurant, The Crazy Gringo, boasts a menu of tacos and burritos, filled with your choice of ingredients.

You can’t miss the menu, set out against a background of bright lime green over the bar. The lime green is a break from his traditional vivid ocean blue décor found in Uncle Mikes On the Water and Uncle Mikes Bar & Grill.

“My family is from PEI. I took early retirement and came to the Island two years ago from Ontario to be closer to my mother and family,” says Mike. He went on to tell me, “I saw an opportunity at Spinnakers Landing to take over a spot. I knew Summerside was on it’s way, it’s growing. And so, the first Uncle Mikes was born!”

Shortly after that first season ended, Mike took over an empty restaurant space on Water Street—now the Bar and Grill. “It’s just so much fun there! It’s like a night club atmosphere. Every second Friday Ron and Sandra perform early, the crowd loves them! When they are finished their sets, the younger crowd moves in, the music changes, but the fun doesn’t. I love it!,” he says with a big grin.

The saga continues. Mike received a call from the Linkletter Hotel people about taking on the former Local 311 restaurant space. “There was a need for a breakfast spot in town,” he said. Open early and closing in the afternoon, the Breakfast SPOT is a hit with local residents. A lunch buffet is now offered and plans to host a weekend breakfast buffet is in the works.

But there’s more, way more. The Perry Group, with Mike at it’s helm as the Executive Director, has created a construction business. “I was hiring workers for the renovations I needed. I was chasing them down. I couldn’t get a company, carpenters etc., are so busy here. And that’s how it started. I’ve kept these people on and formed my own construction business,” Mike said. There are plans to build affordable housing units and homes for veterans.

Mike finds Summerside quite competitive but habits are changing quickly. He said, “I’d like to say that we are here to stay. We are a family-owned business and we are making a difference in the community. I employ more than 40 people. This is our headquarters, Summerside. My dad is here now, helping us out. We are a family, growing our dream together.”

If you were to look up “positive energy” in the dictionary, you would see Uncle Mike’s smiling face.

Jan CoxWay Up West
Jan Cox

My partner and I moved to the island from Ottawa in August 2003. We quickly became avid fans of "The Buzz". I would search out the monthly read at the liquor stores of West Prince! I retired in June 2015 and found myself one afternoon, on a weekday no less, outside The Buzz office in Charlottetown. I met Peter and the gang and after singing the praises of the publication, suggested they needed a voice from West of Summerside. Me and my big mouth - three years later I am still writing "Way Up West" every month and it has been a joy. It's a win win - I get to work with a wonderful group of people at The Buzz and I am thrilled to be meeting folks from up west and area.