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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — A major Canadian restaurant chain is looking to move into Charlottetown sometime around the middle of this year.
Keith Macintosh, the Atlantic regional development director for St. Louis Bar and Grill, said Jan. 31 the original intent was to open in the P.E.I. capital city last year.
“We opened up a lot of stores in the last 12 months across Canada. It was just a matter of timing and resources, to be honest with you,” Macintosh told SaltWire Network, referring to why the plan to open a Charlottetown location didn’t pan out in 2022.
MacIntosh added that it took time to find local ownership. He wouldn’t identify the group but said that news is coming soon.
“It had nothing to do with the market because Charlottetown is at the top of the list on the market, without question.’’
Macintosh, who also owns and operates St. Louis Bar and Grill restaurants in Moncton and Dieppe, N.B., said he believes Charlottetown will be one of its top locations in Canada.
“I think you might just bypass my markets,” he said. “Right now, when people make their run to Costco from P.E.I., they come to us to eat. We can always tell when Islanders are here by their accent. I’m going to miss having them here. We have a huge Charlottetown following.”
Bill DeBlois, president of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, said news that a major franchise like St. Louis Bar and Grill values the Charlottetown market is encouraging.
“It’s been a tough few years to run a business, with the pandemic, high inflation and the labour shortage, to name a few challenges,” DeBlois told SaltWire Network in an email on Feb. 1, noting that it shows the local business market is strong.
St. Louis Bar and Grill opened its doors at its first location in Toronto in 1992, and it has since spread to more than 70 locations across Canada. The first location in the Maritimes opened in Moncton 10 years ago, with seven restaurants now in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Specializing in pub food, the chain is best known for its wings, ribs and mouth-watering sauces.
Macintosh said he can’t reveal where the Charlottetown restaurant will be located just yet.
“We have a location. We’re just in the final negotiations and it’s an excellent location. It will be visible, it will be accessible … with lots of parking.”
Macintosh said he can’t say exactly when construction will start, but there will be an effort to fast-track the process. He did say the restaurant will be between 2,800 and 3,000 square feet in size.
“Our plans are to see St. Louis wings to be eaten in Prince Edward Island in 2023.’’
Charlottetown isn’t the only market that interests the Canadian franchise.
In an interview last year, David Polny, former senior vice-president of international development of the franchise, said they were also looking to open a location in Stratford in 2023.
MacIntosh said on Jan. 31 the town remains on its radar.
“That is definitely a market that we are going to be in,” Macintosh said. “There is so much development, it’s exploding over there.”
However, Macintosh said there is no timeline on when on Stratford location will be announced.
Did you know?
- St. Louis Bar and Grill doesn’t get its name from the city in Missouri. The founder was a Canadian who decided to name it after his father-in-law, Louis.
Dave Stewart is a reporter with the SaltWire Network in Prince Edward Island. He can be reached by email at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @DveStewart.