Bistro and pizza parlour Chez Sophie has been chosen to replace Salisbury House in the restaurant space on Esplanade Riel.
On March 4, city council's downtown, riverbank and heritage committee will consider a deal that would grant a five-year lease for pedestrian-bridge restaurant space to Chez Sophie, which has become a St. Boniface culinary fixture since it opened on Avenue de la Cathedrale in 2005.
The deal would see Chez Sophie spend $150,000 to $200,000 on renovations, which may include a gift shop. Rent would be free the first year, due to the renovations, and then $2,000 a month in years two to five
In January, the city issued a search for tenants interested in the space on the pedestrian bridge, which connects downtown to St. Boniface. A total of three responded and toured the facility.
A five-year deal with the Salisbury House restaurant chain expired in 2010 but was continued until 2012, when Daniel McIntyre Coun. Harvey Smith began asking questions about why no new lease has been negotiated. Some leases come with overhold clauses that require tenants to pay higher rates if leases extend beyond their original terms.
The city and Sals entered into new negotiations late last year, leading to what an official with the restaurant chain called a tentative deal. But the city said in a report those negotiations were unsuccessful.
St. Boniface Coun. Dan Vandal said this morning he is pleased Chez Sophie will be the tenant.
"They have come half way around world to be restauranteurs and they are taking on their greatest challenge," he said via email. "(You) gotta love that. And I believe they will build partnerships with St. Boniface that Sals simply couldn't."