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Old Posted Jan 21, 2010, 10:18 PM
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Original Joe's set to open on Kenaston

By Trevor Suffield
Canstar News

Jan. 21, 2010

A Calgary-based restaurant chain is hoping to soon take a bite out of Winnipeg’s eatery scene.

Original Joe’s Restaurant and Bar is expected to open in the former Grapes location at Grant Avenue and Kenaston Boulevard in March.

Joe’s purchased the approximately 5,000 sq. ft site last year and is expecting to spend up to $1-million in renovations and upgrades.

Jordan Prescesky, director of franchise services for Original Joe’s, said the company is excited about its impending arrival in the city.

“Winnipeg has been a city that we have had our eyes on for a long time, and it’s a great city for us,” he said.

Prescesky said the chain wanted to control its growth in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan before venturing further east.

“It works really well for us to cluster a few stores in one area,” he said.

Joe’s already has more than 30 restaurants in Western Canada, but this will be its first location east of Saskatchewan.

Prescesky said the company is still interviewing prospective managers but expects to be operational in the next few months.

Joe’s boasts that it has as a casual, laidback atmosphere with restaurant quality food in a pub environment. Prescesky said that the menu will be similar to other outlets but said there will be room for some local flavours as the new managers see fit.

Prescesky said he has no apprehensions about opening a restaurant in the current economic climate because he feels the company’s business model is recession-proof. He said that by offering huge portions at low prices, people feel that they are getting value, which keeps them coming back.

Ernie Nairn, executive director of the Assiniboine Chamber of Commerce, said restaurant chain’s arrival is great news for the area and the local economy.

“I think that despite the recessionary times, to see a new restaurant coming into the area is fabulous because it indicates that the market is still strong,” Nairn said.

Nairn added that the restaurant will be a compliment to the new Ikea development further down Kenaston, and Creswin’s proposed The Elms Collection that is scheduled to be located at the current site of Canad Inns Stadium.

Scott Jocelyn, executive director of the Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said the location is a great place for a new business.

“It’s always been a pretty hot corner with whatever restaurant was there, so we’re pretty excited to see that something was happening with it,” said Jocelyn, who grew up in the area.

“With the doom and gloom with the economy you’re always happy to hear that things are happening.”

According to Jocelyn there are approximately 2,200 food service establishments in the province right now, which is an all-time low for the past decade

Prescesky said that depending on how successful the Grant and Kenaston location is, Joe’s may consider opening other restaurants in the city.
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