SPEED DATING OVER A BLOW DRY -- In about two weeks you'll be able to check out the lush California-style, newly re-opened Vault Salon and Spa at 52 Albert St. -- and then "speed date" over free wash-and-blows to find the hairstylist best suited to you. Believe it or not, you can just keep coming back for free, to check out different stylists' cut-and-colour ideas and their personalities -- interviewing them while they work on you. (Cuts and colours will cost you the regular price.)
Daughter and dad co-partners Amber Robinson and Frank Ostrowski will be opening the doors to the stately old bank building with the working vault, which is now a coffee room, in just a few weeks. "We want to grab people and spoil them and ruin them for any other salon," says Robinson, as she pads through the lavish, carpeted hallways full of sleek treatment rooms, some with giant stained-glass windows. Patrons are given furry black robes and slippers in the locker room.
"We have more than 23 chairs on the two floors, eight different rooms upstairs and a wedding suite a bride can rent out for $199," says Ostrowski. "On the two floors we offer Botox, electrolysis, hot stone massages, waxing, massage tables, a steam bath, sauna, cappuccino bar, manicures pedicures, OPI nails and duck nail, a new rage where your nail ends splay out like a duck's foot."
With all the chairs and different rooms, this will be Winnipeg's biggest hair salon-and-spa business, says Robinson. They even have a private elevator for brides and bridesmaids to get downstairs in their fancy gowns to their limos.
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SANTA LUCIA -- After being run by three generations of the same Greek family, the Santa Lucia on Waterloo Street quietly closed its doors and the owners ran off to put the finishing touches to their fancy new location at Corydon Avenue and Wentworth Street in the former Bibi's. Stavros Chatjiathanassiadis (no kidding!) and his nephew George Simeonidis hope to open Jan. 30 with a couple of parties for friends and families before opening to the public.
Yours truly caught all the guys from the other five Santa Lucia locations Wednesday night at a tasting party in the almost-finished lounge. Off in a dark corner in the restaurant section sat computer guru Richard Anton who has set up a unique ordering system: tables will be equipped with computer tablets, so servers can send patrons' orders to the cook as soon as they get them. The minute your food is ready, your servers' tablet vibrates and they're off to the kitchen to pick it up.
The Santa Lucia owners are excited by the increased capacity of the new location. "We went from 32 to 60 seats, with 30 more in the lounge and a patio which can hold another 30," says, well, let's just call him Stavros. "On Waterloo we didn't need hostesses or a bartender. This is a completely new world."
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KARAOKE RESTAURANT NIGHT FOR KIDS -- At many venues around this musical city, people 18 and over can sing their guts out at karaoke, but where can young kids go? At Charlee's Restaurant and Lounge at 185 Stadacona St. in Elmwood on Sundays from 4-8 p.m., the place is now full of kids with their families who get up to sing karaoke with a host called Jewels.
Decorated from head to foot with jewelry, her real name is Juliet Lafortune. One of her biggest stars is only four years old and likes to sing Adele's Rolling in the Deep very loudly with her mother. "She can't read the words on the karaoke screen but she knows them all by heart. I'd like to get her on YouTube," says Lafortune.
Jewels also encourages intellectually-challenged adults who she calls her "special angels," to come out and sing. Plus, families with birthdays can bring cakes. Charlee's is owned by Charlie Villapando.
Jewels, 64, says her aim is to help people sing and get rid of any self-consciousness. "It's a confidence builder for kids." Jewels also takes some of the gang to have them record at a studio. "I even have chlldren's tunes like Farmer in the Dell so no matter what age I'm dealing with, I always have something there for them."
Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 204-474-1116, email Maureen.Scurfield@Winnipegfreepress.com, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield, c/o The Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6