Sunday, March 27, 2011

Swiss Chalet Returns to Winnipeg



Update October 26. Swiss Chalet is now open


Swiss Chalet is a large Canadian restaurant chain founded in Toronto in 1954. The store is ubiquitous in Ontario along with its sister restaurant Harvey's, a hamburger joint.

Just over 12 years ago, Swiss Chalet and Harvey's retreated from the scene in Winnipeg save for an express location at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport for both restaurants. That location is slated to close when airport functions shift to the new terminal. There doesn't seem to be a plan to open the concept when the move happens.

I have pointed out in this blog that development agencies should be looking for shops and restaurants that draw people. I am not sure why Swiss Chalet withdrew from the Winnipeg market years ago. Their location on Pembina Highway seemed to be well used. I can't say the same about their Harvey's location on the same street or the Home Depot locations. The restaurant chain never seemed to catch on in Manitoba.

The Yes! Winnipeg agency is taking credit for the $1.6 million Swiss Chalet restaurant coming to the city at the Kenaston Common location near Costco. The restaurant will employ about 80 people. Further city locations are hinted at.

The Yes agency has been around for three months and is taking credit for about there or four companies finding contacts, financing and the like to open in the city or expand operations. While some of the initial announcements are good, a really big fish is still to be caught. After a year, it will be interesting to see if a $50 to $100 million initiative lands in the city. Too often we have lost some of these projects to other cities.

I should point out that the worst meal I have had in the last several years was a Swiss Chalet dinner at the Toronto airport. Other family members says they weren't impressed by a mean at Swiss Chalet at Winnipeg's airport. I certainly hope that a full scale restaurant proves to be a more satisfactory food choice for people in the Kenaston area.

It would appear the restaurant opening at Kenaston Common will fill the last available space in that area. All eyes now turn to the Ikea site.

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25 comments:

Reed Solomon said...

Man all the way out by Kenaston? Ugh. Might as well build it in Portage La Prairie. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

What else are they going to build out in kenaston common..so sick of seeing everything out that way..there are other places in wpg to build...

mrchristian said...

That's too bad the location. Something slightly more central - even Grant Park or something. I'm not gaga over the place but it beats the Smitty's / Perkins in that restaurant category.

I've often wondered about some Ontario chains. Through HNIC and other national media they certainly have name presence in the city. You'd think that as a spinoff they'd push more to have urban locations in places like Winnipeg.

John Dobbin said...

There was a suggestion that there might be more locations coming.

I have heard from a few people who seem disappointed that they have chosen a location that is very regional.

Anonymous said...

Sorry everyone. There is also people who live in that area. Lots of people. Not sure if you've noticed or not, but there's also a small amount of new home construction in that area. I'm pretty sure these people (Swiss Chalet) know what they're doing.

Anonymous said...

I my self am very happy Swiss Chalet is returning. Born and raised in Ontario but have enjoyed living in Winnipeg for the last 18yrs loved the restaurant. Every time I go to visit my family we go out to Swiss Chalet. doesn't matter where its located in Winnipeg just glad it's coming back.I would love to see more Restaurant's open up Unicity way.

Anonymous said...

when is it due to open,,,or have they figured that out yet?

Anonymous said...

I love Swiss Chalet! I'm from Ontario and my grandmother had to go there for every birthday and special occasion, I used to laugh at her when I was a teen because there were cooler places to go, but they do have the best Rotisserie Chicken. On another note, the Kenaston area is great it may be out of the way a bit for some areas of the city, but let's be real people it's Winnipeg not Toronto or Vanvouver it doesn't take that long to get from one end of the city to the other.

Monique Damphousse said...

I love the new location's planned site....there are a lot of people who live in that area of Winnipeg! I wish you could tell us when to expect to be able to go there. I love Swiss Chalet.

Anonymous said...

love the location! im in river heights so its nice and close but even if i lived in transcona i would still make it n it would be totally worth it. its always my fav place to eat at when i visit toronto and the aiport swiss chalet does it no justice! coming in the fall is too long to wait if u ask me! i will be there opening day!!!

Anonymous said...

We will be going into Swiss Chalet from Winnipeg Beach. We lived in Toronto for 11 years and loved it there. See you in the fall Happy to see you back in winnipeg again

Anonymous said...

I can't wait. Ive eaten at Swiss Chalet in every province. on trips to Calgary, I would plan the drive to arrive for lunch. I've heard from a reliable source that there will be 2 locations, the second opening next spring, likely in the east side of the city.

John Dobbin said...

I will try and take a pic of the building site in the next days but it is coming along.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that my favorite place to eat is coming back. When is it open?

Elaine said...

I grew up with Harveys and Swiss Chalet in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. I can tell you, like any other chain restaurant, there are good ones and bad. I have only experienced one bad meal at Swiss Chalet, and I'm sure a full-scale restaurant will be better than a cubicle in the airport. Please do not judge the restaurant by its small airport booth! It has more variety to its menu than say Chicken Chef. Lots of great entree salads with chicken. Harveys is one of those you love it or you hate it places. If you like McDonalds and Burger King type places, you will probably not like Harveys. Personally, I find the food at Harveys more satisfying and fresh, and less processed. There is also less fat per original burger than a McDonalds quarter pounder (16g compared to 24g). I am thrilled they are coming. I am not ashamed to say I have made lots of trips to the airport just for a Harveys burger! ES

Anonymous said...

Any Idea what is going up where the old Grapes/Red Lobster use to be on Pembina?

John Dobbin said...

Elaine: Harvey's is scheduled to open On Portage Avenue across from the University of Winnipeg soon.

Anon: Sept. 30: Not sure what is going up at the old Grapes. I will look into it.

Anonymous said...

Hay ! Get out of your house! The Pembina Location is GONE it's a Shoppers and as for a bad eating experience in another city , it happened its part of life.
Saying the new Swiss Chalet is close to Costco ? ? Its 2 blocks away you can't even see it!
Who cares who takes credit for something as long as it gets done . You say you talk about Winnipeg it sounds like you live far from it and your using an out dated map of Winnipeg . This is the first and last time I read your crap its out dated and you have no facts about anything get a life and stop blubbering just cuz you can

John Dobbin said...

Anon Last: Thanks for your contribution.

I used Costco as a point of reference since there are so few of them in the city. Had I said Wal-mart or Home Depot, it might have been harder to identify the area of the city we are talking about.

I mentioned two locations of Swiss Chalet including the remainiing one in Winnipeg as being a not so great meal experience. I have no idea if the new full service resaturant will be a better. Suffice to say that the chain has not existed in the city for 12 years save for the airport.

Think I pointed out that Pembina location had been a busy location when it was open. Don't think I indicated it was open now.

As for credit, my post was not just about Swiss Chalet but how a business group was trying to attract companies like this to the city.

Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Opening Wed, Oct 26th! Training new staff today.

I lov the location as this is an ever xpanding area with many new homes being built.

Hav been following SC on their facebook page & am surprised @ the many complaints?! Hope the Kenaston location is better. Does any1 know if there is a 'charge' for their delivery?

Wish they wd hav a 'drive-thru' as it's really covenient for those of us with handicaps. But this location doesn't look lik there is 1 :(

BIG T said...

In 1958 I became a member of the OPP in Toronto & lived accross the road from the Swiss Chalet Young & St Clair area.The menu was sm.,med.,lg., quaters & half chicken. I remenber the prices for s- .95 m-1.05,L 1.15, I think the Large half was 2.25. The waitresses would always tell you to oreder small as they would always upgrade your order to the next available size at no extra charge.It was a realy great deal when they ran out of sm, & med, so we learned to eat late to get the best deal. WE have enjoyed this chicken for 53 years and the service & food have been excellent in what I call the Corporate Restaurants where as in the combination fast food outlets are a very poor immatation of a great product.Can hardly wait for this new location to open

Anonymous said...

We are central, so it doesn't take us long to get anywhere but I'm disappointed it's on Route 90...that area is going to be even more bottlenecked. It will be a long time for me to make an effort to go to Swiss Chalet although I love their product so much. I'm definitely waiting until after the honeymoon period until I make the first visit.

Anonymous said...

Why are Manitobans so negative: Many people who have moved here from other Provinces know what good food & service is about. I hope the management of this new Swiss Chalet here in Winnipeg can duplicate the wonderful product that is put on the tables in Ontario & the rest of the country

Anonymous said...

SO EXCITED! SWISS CHALET IS MY ALL TIME FAV PLACE TO EAT I DONT CARE WHERE THEY BUILD IT I WILL BE THERE!!!

me said...

Boohoo! who cares about the location! just be happy that we got Swiss Chalet back!! You are just thinking about yourself!