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Back to business for former Basil's

New eatery to open on site

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The long-closed Basil's restaurant in Osborne Village will soon be reopening, thanks to the owners of another area eatery.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

The long-closed Basil's restaurant in Osborne Village will soon be reopening, thanks to the owners of another area eatery. Photo Store

The lights will soon be back on at one of Osborne Village's best-known restaurant locations.

An as-yet-unnamed restaurant is expected to open early next month in the former Basil's location on the northwest corner of Osborne Street and Stradbrook Avenue.

The new outlet will be owned and operated by the same two business partners who last November took over another well-known Osborne Street eatery -- Bistro 7 1/4 at 725 Osborne.

"We're really hoping we can get everything open for Canada Day," Bistro 7 1/4 co-owner Jarrett Connery said. "We're not doing a huge renovation inside... but we need to get an occupancy permit and a liquor permit."

Connery said they haven't finalized the menu for the new restaurant.

"It is going to be kind of along the lines of Bistro 7 1/4, but with somewhat lower price points. It will still be really good-quality food... but we want it to be something where anybody living in the Village can afford to come in and have a good meal."

He described the food at Bistro 7 1/4 as "luxurious comfort food," and said the menu for the new eatery will have a few of the same dishes.

"But not many," he added. "We're not going to have any $100 bottles of wine there, although we'll still have a good selection of wines and beer."

The fact a new restaurant is moving into the former Basil's location, which has been empty for more than a year, was hailed as great news by the executive director of the Osborne Village Business Improvement Zone (BIZ).

"We are very excited about the new restaurant owners who are coming in," Stephanie Meilleur said in an interview.

She said they're also pleased the new eatery will cater to diners from all walks of life, noting Osborne Village residents run the gamut from young families to retirees.

She also said it would be great if the new restaurant can be open in time for the Village's Canada Day festivities, which draw people from all over the city.

"It's a very, very busy day," Meilleur added.

Connery, 32, said he and his business partner took over Bistro 7 1/4 last November from its co-founders, Alexander and Danielle Svenne, who had owned it for about eight years. He said Alexander agreed to stay on for a while to help with the transition, but left a few months ago to pursue other opportunities.

A former vegetable farmer from Portage la Prairie, Connery said it wasn't long after he and his business partner acquired Bistro 7 1/4 that they were approached by a local real estate agent who asked if they'd also be interested in leasing the former Basil's location, which is still owned by longtime Basil's owner/founder Basil Lagopoulos.

Basil's had been closed for about four years after a water-main break caused more than $1 million damage to the building.

Lagopoulos was finally was able to reopen in the summer of 2011 under a new name -- Bistrot By Basil. Connery said that also ceased operations in March of last year, although he doesn't know why.

Although Bistro 7 1/4 is their first restaurant, Connery said he and his partner felt the opportunity to also take over the former Basil's site was too good to pass up.

"It was 100 per cent the patio there," he said when asked why they liked the location. "It's a beautiful kind of courtyard patio... that was once rated as one of top five patios in Canada."

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 17, 2014 B6

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