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This article was published 2/5/2016 (1816 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Extracting the details of what will replace The Round Table from owner Kristjan Kristjansson is like trying to pull Excalibur from the stone.
Kristjansson recently announced the longtime Pembina Highway restaurant will be shutting its doors on June 3 after 42 years in business.
The closure will make way for a new and ambitious food and drink establishment that Kristjansson is remaining tight lipped about. The restaurant will retain its massive footprint, will be completely renovated, and will see a significant investment in the property, Kristjansson said.
"There have been lots of good rumours, I have to say," Kristjansson said sitting in a booth in the Tudor-style lounge at 800 Pembina Hwy. "We think it’s an absolutely thrilling concept and it’s going to do extremely well."
Kristjansson said customers can expect a social space with opportunities for live music and late night gatherings and an emphasis on craft products.
"It’s time today for the large big steak dinner to not be the focus," he added.
The Round Table opened in October 1973 under the direction and ownership of Kristjansson’s father Thrainn, and for many years it was known for its prime rib, steaks and Middle Ages-inspired atmosphere.
Kristjansson said very few remnants of The Round Table will remain when the new concept is opened in early September. The Round Table’s memorabilia and furniture is currently up for sale in a silent auction and a live auction will be held June 4.
"You’ll never see that ever again. It is gone, it has to go away, it’s very important to sever that, so when we return we’re not looking for that. It’s time," he said.
Kristjansson said the new concept will take advantage of changes to Manitoba’s liquor laws but a food forward focus will remain, with small plates and a contemporary dining experience. The target market is a younger demographic, around 25 years and older, and those who are keenly interested in the products they consume.
One component of The Round Table that will remain is Wine Wednesdays and the emphasis on a wide selection of artisan beers, Kristjansson said. After the partial rebranding to the Brogue Gastropub in 2012, which included the addition of 20 beer taps, business boomed.
"We realized that our growth model was a more casual dining experience focused on quality food," he said.
In part, Kristjansson says he was motivated to close The Round Table due to a changing market.
Millennials, he says, were not fond of the formal dining experience, "fuddy duddy" history, and widely popular products.
"Culturally things have changed and it’s an amazing time," he explained. "(Millennials) eat out more frequently and they dine differently. They don’t actually dine; they eat, they communicate, they’ve got 12 conversations going on with their phone, it’s a different time."
Despite the complete overhaul of The Round Table, Kristjansson said his family isn’t necessarily letting go of the many memories the restaurant holds. Without The Round Table, Kristjansson says he likely would have wound up in Australia.
"My dad had an opportunity to open this restaurant and brought us to Canada," he said. "The Round Table for us was our step into probably the best country in the world. That’s the biggest memory for me."
"This business is amazing for relationships and friendships. That’s the best part, the people you meet," he added.
Kristjansson is inviting everyone to stop in and say farewell to The Round Table by visiting them in person for a meal or by going to their social media pages and entering for a chance to win a seat at the very last table.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.