Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New Earls, old location

It's business as usual until restaurant opens adjacent to current one

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Earls Restaurants is one step closer to replacing its Main Street location.

The Vancouver-based chain has submitted final plans to the City of Winnipeg to build a new restaurant on the same site as the current one.

And if that's your favourite spot to watch a Bombers game or seek out autographs from NHL players, don't worry -- you won't miss a single day.

"Earls owns that piece of land, including the parking area, so they plan to build the new Earls on a portion of the land while continuing to operate the existing restaurant. They do not expect the build to have any impact on current parking or any interruption to the existing Earls, which will continue to open, business as usual, until the new Earls is open. It will be a seamless transition," said communications manager Cate Simpson.

It's expected the new restaurant will be open in late 2015 or early 2016. The one it's replacing was opened in 1994.

Stan Fuller, owner of Earls Restaurants, said the chain has had a long relationship with Winnipeg.

"It's one of our most successful markets. This is an investment in Winnipeg, but more importantly it's for our regular, loyal guests who we think deserve a beautiful new restaurant in Winnipeg."

When Earls first announced its Main Street plans in the spring of 2013, they called for the same seating capacity as the current building -- 144 in the dining room and 110 in the lounge -- and an expanded patio from 75 seats to 100.

Earls has 60 restaurants in Canada and a half-dozen more in the United States. The Main Street eatery opened in fall 1994 and is the top-grossing Earls of the three in Winnipeg. At one point, it was one of the company's top three in Canada and remains among the busiest.

Earls on Main brings in about $6 million a year in sales. The company has annual revenue of $260 million.

Earls arrived in Winnipeg in 1986 on St. James Street across the road from Polo Park shopping centre, a location that is now a Tony Roma's. Back then, the concept was far different than the high-end eatery and bar it is today. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature was the giant collection of ceramic parrots located throughout the restaurant. The new Polo Park location opened in spring 2002. Earls also has a St. Vital store, which opened in summer 2006. It closed its Pembina Highway eatery last year.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 16, 2014 B6

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