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This article was published 31/5/2018 (1051 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Pete's Place restaurant is moving to Osborne Village, part of a recent turnaround of vacant storefronts in the neighbourhood.
The owners of the restaurant, which has been a fixture on Main Street for 17 years, signed a lease for an empty building at 135 Osborne St. They plan to open the week before Canada Day, said Peter Vlahos, who was on his way to collect the building's keys during an interview Thursday morning.
The move comes one month after the Free Press reported the Osborne Village BIZ was taking steps to address concerns about a number of vacant storefronts. Since then, Stephanie Meilleur, executive director of the Osborne Village BIZ, said the village is "looking great."
"We've seen, in the last month, some vacancies become leased," she said Thursday. "We actually don't have any vacancies right now that I know of."
A former Second Cup, TD bank, a beauty bar, the old Desart space and the Osborne Village Inn all have new tenants too, and Little Pizza Heaven is expanding, she added.
"I would say that it is on the upswing to a more positive feel, as well as we are launching a lot of our Village Square events. For instance, we did the community clean-up, which was the most successful it's ever been."
Susan Cuvelier, an Osborne Village resident of nine years, said it's "wonderful" to hear a bunch of new leases have been signed in the area, considering she's noticed a bunch of stores closing down over the last few years.
"To see big locations, especially the Second Cup location, and also the location of Pete's Place, getting new tenants is really encouraging. That tells me we're going to maintain the critical mass of businesses that you need to maintain and keep an area vibrant."
However, Cuvelier said that while she noticed rental signs on local storefront windows, the community's dynamic feel has never faded.
"I think it's a very vibrant community, one of the few great walking communities in Winnipeg, and I love living there for that reason.
"I try very hard to frequent the restaurants and businesses in my neighbourhood to keep them in business as much as I can."
Pete's Place is a casual restaurant with dine-in and take-out options. It has typically sold burgers, souvlaki, chicken fingers, soups and salads, said Vlahos, who describes their options as "elevated comfort food" because everything's made from scratch. He added they'll be keeping favourites on the menu, but will be adding some signature burgers.
"I think we're going to have a unique offering for the Village since there's nothing like us there," said Vlahos, who runs the business with his wife Samantha. "We have some Greek dishes, but we don't try to specialize in it or anything. That's my heritage so the flavour profile of the food has a Greek taste to it."
Basil's occupied the restaurant space for years, but it closed when the owner wanted to retire. It was replaced by Black Rabbit, which closed after two years. The last tenant, Ward 1, closed in February after two months in business.
Vlahos said he has no concerns about the turnover that's taken place in the building.
Meilleur said she thinks the previous tenants closed because of inexperience.
"I'm very excited for (Pete's Place) because the owners are established restaurant owners. This isn't their first time around."
The Vlahos' closed their original Pete's Place restaurant on November 10 after 17 years in West Kildonan. They originally planned to move to the Polo Park area at the start of this year but backed out on a lease because the building had extensive water damage.
Basil Lagopoulos was the owner of Basil's. Now, he's the Vlahos' landlord.
"The Village is undergoing a long overdue refreshing rebirth," he wrote in a statement to the Free Press Thursday, adding the rebirth will be "explicitly obvious" by the end of the summer.
Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.