It's being described as one of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings in the city in years, and all of the proceeds from opening night will be donated to the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
The Prairie 360 Skyline Restaurant & Lounge -- the latest culinary venture by Winnipeg restaurateur Noel Bernier -- is holding a by-invitation-only grand opening event Nov. 9 in the former Royal Crown revolving-restaurant space on top of the downtown's Fort Garry Place.
About 200 tickets, at $150 a pop, are being sold. A spokeswoman for the Friends of the Museum, which is overseeing the ticket sales, said they should have no trouble selling them all.
"I have no doubt," Kathi Neal, the group's director of marketing and communications, said Monday. "I think people in Winnipeg are really looking forward to supporting the museum and seeing this incredible new restaurant."
That view is shared by the executive director of the Manitoba Restaurant and Food Services Association.
"In the time I've been here -- I've been here seven years -- I don't think I've ever had as many calls about a restaurant space as I have about that space," Scott Jocelyn said. "We had this crown jewel in the downtown that was sitting empty (for four years)," Jocelyn added. "A lot of people are interested in what happens with it, especially with all of the different things that are happening downtown. I'm just dying to get in there and see what they've done with it."
What Bernier and his business partners have done is an almost complete makeover of the Royal Crown space, which was spread out over four floors. The only area that hasn't seen wholesale changes was one of the two lounges on the 28th floor.
"The rest of the entire complex was completely gutted and renovated," Bernier said. "It won't look at all like it did before."
He said there will be two lounges on the 28th floor. The 29th floor will be kitchen space, the main revolving restaurant will be on the 30th floor, and the top floor will be a smaller revolving restaurant reserved for private functions.
The new restaurant will have a decidedly Manitoba theme, with locally sourced foods and beverages, lots of wild game, and "a lot of hearty, farm-style dishes," Bernier said.
And in a nod to Winnipeg's ethnic diversity, the appetizers will include dishes from such countries as India, the Philippines and El Salvador, and entrees that include traditional French, Scottish and aboriginal dishes.
"It will be a theme and a menu that reflect the type of people we have here, not just the type of food we grow here," he added.
He said he and his partners are happy to be donating the proceeds from the opening night event to the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
"As a long-time supporter of the Museum project and everything it stands for, the decision to select it as the beneficiary of our opening-night fundraiser was actually quite simple. It was a natural fit."
He said the restaurant will provide Winnipeggers and visitors to the city with a bird's eye view of not only the nearby museum, but the entire city.
"So another reason for partnering with them is that these two properties are going become linked with one another as far as tourism goes," he added.
He said Prairie 360 will be closed on Nov. 10, and open to the general public on Nov. 11.
It will be the fourth entry in Bernier's fast-growing stable of local eateries, which includes Hermanos Restaurant and Wine Bar, Corrientes Argentine Pizzeria and Carnival Brazilian BBQ in the city's East Exchange District.
Later this month, Bernier and his partners will open the city's first craft-beer pub -- Barley Brothers -- in the former Kelsey's Restaurant location on Empress Street.