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This article was published 7/10/2011 (2934 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
LOCAL lovers of southern-styled, smoked and barbecued chicken and ribs have one more reason to be licking their lips in anticipation.
A little more than a week after Famous Dave's BBQ announced it was coming to Winnipeg, another U.S.-based restaurant chain specializing in the same kind of finger-lickin' fare — Woody's Bar-B-Q — has confirmed it's also opening an outlet here in 2012.
Dave Masters, who owns the Canadian master franchise rights for Woody's, said he hopes to open up to four of the restaurants in the city as part of an aggressive expansion that could see up to 100 Woody's outlets in Canada.
Winnipeg's first is to open early next year — probably in February or March — in a 4,800-square-foot building to be constructed on the southwest corner of Pembina Highway and Grant Avenue. Ron Kibbins, a real estate agent with Re/Max Performance Realty, his wife and their son, Jesse, will own and operate the franchise.
Kris Mutcher, the local retail sales and leasing specialist with Colliers International who brokered the leasing deal with Woody's, said the property's owner expects to break ground within the next couple of weeks.
He said Woody's will occupy 3,425 square feet in the building, and Papa John's Pizza will rent the other 1,375 square feet for its newest take-out/delivery outlet.
Mutcher said the local owner had been trying for more than five years to land a leasing deal that could trigger the redevelopment of the vacant land, which he acquired from the city.
He said the Woody's and Famous Dave's deals — Famous Dave's plans to open its first Winnipeg restaurant next June in the former Blockbuster Video space on Reenders Drive — reflect the heightened interest national and international chains are showing in Winnipeg's stable retail market.
"We're seeing a lot of that, where sites that have sat dormant for a long time are getting attention now," he said. "Winnipeg used to be more of an afterthought, but now it's definitely a lot higher on tenants' priority lists. They are treating Winnipeg as a major market they have to be in."
Masters and Kibbins said there's plenty of room locally for more authentic, southern-styled barbecue restaurants. "There is enough market share for all of us," said Masters.