A new gathering place

April and Clyde Duke on the stage at Random Howse on North Beach Road in Eastsound.

With its vast, shiny wood floors, cozy fireplace and intimate stage setting, Random Howse is primed to be an entertainment hot spot.

“Our vision is that it will be a gathering place to enjoy the talent of those around us,” said April Duke, who purchased the building with her husband Clyde.

The space, which was built in 2004, has traditionally been used for restaurants – most recently it was home to Agave.

Now it is renamed and underwent a major cleaning and received new paint and a brick wall behind the stage.

“My first attraction to this was that the building is under-utilized,” Clyde said.

Random Howse will be a place for private occasions like baby showers and weddings and public happenings like live music, dancing and fundraisers. A full bar and snacks will be provided during events.

“With all the bars and restaurants around, we want to offer something unique – and not compete with them,” April said.

Their first function was a night of tango this summer. April says it was “wholesome fun” with people ranging in age from 12 to 70.

Starting Nov. 19, Kevin Gregus and his wife Jowl will be making Thai food on Tuesdays from 5 to 9 p.m. Diners can sit down or order take-away.

“There will be traditional items like Pad Thai, curries, and veggie and meat stir fries – it’s going to be simple,” said Gregus, who is also the breakfast chef at New Leaf Cafe. “I want to see if the community gets excited about eating Thai food.”

The Dukes are hoping to book a calendar of events for the entire year.

“The challenge for us is that it’s a work in progress,” Clyde said.

He runs a roofing business and April works in the banquet department of Rosario and Outlook Inn. They are also renovating the athletics building in Eastsound. So finding time to pull off their new venture has been daunting.

“I am a little scared,” April said. “But sometimes the things that frighten you can bring you the most joy and success. We’ve made a commitment to the community and everyone has high hopes.”