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The Villages
Sunday, April 18, 2021

Snowbirds in Scotland honor defunct Katie Belle’s with special tribute

They might be stuck in Scotland because of the Coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped two Villages snowbirds from paying special homage to the now-closed Katie Belle’s in Spanish Springs Town Square.

Snowbird Janice Lawson, of the Village of Mira Mesa, enjoys a cold brew in Wee Katie Belle’s, a bar she and Liz Easdale built in their backyard in Scotland. Lawson said they converted a shed into the mini-bar as a way to pay tribute to the beloved Villages restaurant that closed recently amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Villages snowbird Liz Easdale mans the bar at Wee Katie Belle’s in her backyard in Scotland recently.

Liz Easdale and Janice Lawson, who usually spend May through October in their Village of Mira Mesa home, recently purchased a new garden shed for their home in Old Kilpatrick, a village just outside Glasgow. That left a dilemma when it came to their old shed – one the couple quickly figured out how to resolve.

“We were saddened to hear that Katie Belle’s is closing down,” Easdale said. “So we thought we’d build our own. All our restaurants are still closed but we now have our own Katie Belle’s!”

Villages snowbirds Liz Easdale, left, and Janice Lawson worked together to create Wee Katie Belle’s in the backyard of their home in Scotland.

When the retired physical education teachers finished their backyard project, a friend who also stays in The Villages suggested they call it Katie Belle’s. The couple took it one step further and dubbed their new creation “Wee Katie Belle’s” to honor one of their favorite Villages haunts.

“We used to frequent the old Katie Belle’s on a regular basis,” Easdale said. “In fact, friends would know to look up at the outside balconies to find us sitting there as they drove past in their golf carts.”

What started as a backyard shed at the Scotland home of Villages snowbirds Liz Easdale and Janice Lawson soon became a tribute to the now-closed Katie Belle’s restaurant in Spanish Springs Town Square.

Easdale said she and Lawson have fond memories of the bar staff at the Villages landmark that originally was drawn on a napkin by late Villages Developer H. Gary Morse.

“When then saw us at the top of the stairs they would have two pints of Coors Light poured for us arriving at the bar,” she said. “What service!”

Liz Easdale enjoys a drink at Wee Katie Belle’s at her home in Scotland.

Like many Villagers, Easdale said they were disappointed when the old Katie Belle’s was refurbished in 2015 and moved solely to the second floor of the Van Patten House. But she said with restaurants in Scotland still closed because of the COVID-19 crisis, they’re quite happy with their own version of their beloved Villages hangout.

“Once lockdown is over here, we are sure we’ll have plenty of visitors wanting a cold beer out of the fridge at Wee Katie Belle’s,” Easdale said.

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