Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Paddlewheel to stop turning for good

The Bay's iconic eatery to close Jan. 24

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This time, the rumours are true.

The Paddlewheel Restaurant is closing its doors after 58 years.

A spokesman for the Bay said the iconic restaurant on the sixth floor of the downtown store that has served meals since 1954 will close Jan. 24.

The decision was made jointly by the Bay and the company it hired to run its in-store food operations, the Compass Group.

"As a result of renovations to our stores and/or adjustments to our service offerings, the Bay and Compass Group made the joint decision to close the restaurant, supporting the Bay's continued efforts to improve and deliver an exceptional shopping experience to our customers," the statement from the Bay spokesman said.

The company would not disclose what it plans to do with the empty space. However, it said there are no plans to replace the Paddlewheel with another restaurant.

Downtown BIZ executive director Stefano Grande said the restaurant's closure is a reminder it will take hard work and innovative thinking to ensure the historic Bay building becomes a success story.

"This reminds us that we need to harden our resolve and quicken the pace to create an innovative public-private partnership to re-transform the obsolete Bay building into a modern-day use that fits in line with our downtown vision, while maintaining its historical significance," Grande said.

Rumours of the Paddlewheel's closing first surfaced in February 2011 when the Bay said it would convert all of its in-store food operations into fine-dining establishments.

But the makeover didn't sit well with Winnipeggers, which forced the Bay to reverse gears. The Bay said it would keep the Paddlewheel open and update it.

However, the updating never took place.

The future of the historic building remains uncertain. The Bay spokesman said the chain continues to evaluate options for the building.

 

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 10, 2013 A2

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