Heard on the Street – October 2019 – Sandbar has new Operators
Owners of John Max Sports & Wings, a popular sports bar with two locations in Windsor, have taken over operation of the Sandbar Waterfront Grill at 930 Old Tecumseh Road in Belle River. The Troup Group of Companies still owns the Sandbar and it’s expected that its name will not be changed. “It’s a lease situation and they will run it on our behalf,” says Troup Group President Robert Troup, who still owns the Puce River Harbour Marina where the Sandbar is located. The Sandbar and the marina are multiple Biz X Award winners in 2002, 2006, 2011 and most recently 2018. The John Max restaurants are located at 3208 Dougall Avenue and 2601 Lauzon Parkway. John Max owners John McKibbon and John O’Kane couldn’t be reached for comment before press time.
Erie Street East, home to many of Windsor’s finest Italian restaurants, is diversifying and adding more options for diners looking for something different. The latest is Mi Amor Creperie at 770 Erie Street East, a location that was previously home to Sorrento, Centro and Vesta cafes. Owner Dave Foley says his aim is for the new venture to be a “little avant garde or bohemian, kind of artsy and catering to the after-dinner crowd looking for dessert or a glass of wine before heading home.” He plans on offering crepes, both savoury and sweet, along with fondue selections and sweet desserts. Foley says local artists will be invited to display their works on the cafe’s walls and they will have an evening set aside during which they can sell their artwork. Foley adds he had a soft opening over the Labour Day weekend during the annual “Via Italia” cycling races and that the café was fully open by mid-September. He plans to be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. “We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from the neighbours and I’m looking forward to it,” says Foley, who has years of experience in the hospitality and entertainment sector. Other new restaurants expected to open along the street include a Greek eatery in a space formerly occupied by Nico’s and owners of El Mayor, which closed on Wyandotte Street East after a fire in January, and are said to be re-opening in the space previously occupied by La Zingara.
Owners of two local coffee bars are opening a third location at Devonshire Mall. Kyle and Rachel Bondy opened Anchor Coffee House at 2187 Huron Church Road in January 2014 and followed that with the Anchor Bakery and Espresso Bar in Olde Walkerville, at 543 Lincoln Road in June 2017. Now, they’re taking the plunge by opening at Devonshire in mid-October. “We had a small location at the Downtown Windsor Farmer’s Market six years ago and when we started selling out every week, we decided to open on Huron Church,” explains Kyle. The business is a 2016 Biz X Award winner for “Fantastic Family Business” and as you can see by reading about their expansions, the Judges definitely made a good decision. Kyle adds that a mall location wasn’t on their radar screen until mall management came calling. “They’re trying to add as many local entrepreneurs as they can and came after us pretty hard for about six months,” says Kyle. “It was this change and the fact they like to handpick their local businesses that convinced us it would be a great fit.” Since committing to a major $70 million renovation and retrofit, mall business has exploded, according to Kyle. The mall location, adjacent to Lululemon, Purdy’s and Roots, will open at 9 a.m., to give mall employees a place to grab a coffee and some breakfast. It will remain open until 9 p.m. The menu, which features frittatas and bagels for breakfast and salads and paninis for lunch, will remain much the same, says Kyle. The Bondys also operate a catering business out of their Huron Church location, focusing largely on corporate meetings and business clients.Capitalizing on the success of their first two ventures, Owners of The Loose Goose Restopub & Lounge in downtown Windsor and the G.O.A.T. in LaSalle, are both launching new restaurants. The G.O.A.T., (decor features memorabilia from the Greatest Athletes Of All Time) owned by WKND Hospitality Group, had a soft opening of their new establishment on August 24 in the Lakeshore MedArts property at 1303 Essex County Road 22, Suite 190, in Belle River. Meanwhile, Loose Goose Owners Angus MacKinnon and Dan Spada plan to open their second restaurant in the Lakeshore Oasis Centre at 486 Advance Boulevard near the intersection of County Road 22 and Patillo Road, in December.
Less than two years after opening their first Oven 360 pizza restaurant at 1349 Grand Marais Road West in Windsor, business partners Remo Tortola and Lucio Franceschelli are preparing to open numbers five and six in Leamington (24 Seacliff Drive East) and Chatham (346 St. Clair Street). “Our growth has been great and it’s all due to our customers and staff,” says Tortola, who has been making pizzas since 2002. “I just wanted to do something different, which I couldn’t do where I was before,” he notes. Oven 360 has an open concept kitchen, allowing customers to select their own toppings and build their own pizzas which then go into a 360 degree Celsius oven. A turntable in the oven rotates once and after less than three minutes, the pizza is ready. “You can be in and out in less than five minutes so long as there is no lineup,” adds Tortola. The chain’s other restaurants are located at 3873 Walker Road, 1226 County Road 22 in Emeryville and 6505 Malden Road in LaSalle. They also offer paninis, salads, pastas and gelato. “It’s exciting and very busy, but we love it,” says Franceschelli. “You don’t mind being busy when you love what you’re doing and you’re working for yourself.”