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Heard on the Street September 2017

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Heard on the Street September 2017

The word in Walkerville is that the owners of Origins Global Village, an eclectic gift store featuring products from around the world, are closing their Devonshire Mall location and moving into an urban space just off Wyandotte Street East. The new location, at 553 Lincoln Road, was formerly occupied by the City Cyclery, which closed at the end of August. Origins moved to the mall after downtown became more known for its hospitality industry vibe than for retail. The new location features hardwood floors and an edgy urban design with high ceilings. Origins also has a retail warehouse location at 2580 Manning Road. Ron Drouillard, who has operated the cycle shop since 2013 with a number of business partners, says he’s taking some time off before returning to community activism work.

Now onto the food biz — and the industry has experienced many changes this summer. Starting with Ron and Liana Giles who have jumped into business ownership, with both feet, by taking over The Harvest Table, a five year old restaurant in The Market Square on Ottawa Street and Walker Road. Liana had just left her job at the Tunnel Duty Free Store and was planning to take the summer off when husband Ron spotted an online ad listing a restaurant for sale. “I was surprised Ron mentioned it because we’ve had no restaurant experience,” says Liana. “But, we went for lunch, liked the atmosphere and the food and two weeks later, it was ours.” For long time fans of the breakfast-lunch restaurant, they probably haven’t noticed a difference in the early days. Liana mentions that she and Ron are not planning on changing the menu and have promoted Chris Campbell, a former part-time Chef who worked alongside former Owner Greg Tjiachris, to full-time. “We had to learn everything really quickly, but with the help of Greg and our Lawyer, we managed to pull it off,” says Liana. The restaurant features casual menu items made from mostly local produce, the vast majority purchased at Market Square. “We don’t overstock so when we run out, we buy it fresh from the market,” says Ron, a pipefitter at Fiat Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant who helps out at the restaurant during the day. The restaurant is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit: TheHarvestTable.ca.

Four years after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to transform the former Maple Leaf Restaurant, at 5420 Tecumseh Road East, into The Leaf Neighbourhood Grill, Owner Bill Kobrosli is renovating the space once again. Once completed, the restaurant will re-open as the Factory House with an updated industrial look recalling Windsor’s long-held reputation and image as a factory town. Kobrosli is hoping his new venture will attract a larger night-time crowd, but it will still remain primarily a restaurant and not a bar. “We’ve always been thought of as a diner and we wanted to rebrand ourselves as more of a restaurant,” says Kobrosli. “We’ll be featuring 10 local craft beers and all local wines, because we have such an incredible selection to choose from in Essex County.” On the rebranding he adds, “It’s an idea I’ve had for a while and it seems like the right time to do it. I still expect we’ll do about 80 percent food and 20 percent alcohol and I’m hoping to attract a larger evening crowd.” Kobrosli is also renovating the exterior of the Croatian Centre, which he also owns, directly across the street from the Factory House. Kobrosli says he hasn’t fully decided what to do with the interior of the Centre and adds that it might be a couple of years before that project is completed.

Vito Maggio is rumoured to be adding to his successful collection of Walkerville restaurants by opening a third in a former bank building on Devonshire Road. Maggio already owns and operates the highly-successful Vito’s Pizzeria at 1731 Wyandotte Street East and O’Maggio’s Kildare House at 1880 Wyandotte Street East.

Heard on the Street September 2017 continues here