Friday, September 21, 2012

Milestone's Grill and Bar To Open Downtown

Milestone's Grill and Bar to Open Across from MTS Centre

Sometimes development corporations let the cat the cat out of the bag in corporate releases without realizing it. Some recent examples are: Fairweather Properties partner spilling it about Lowe's Home Improvement coming to Winnipeg or the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre showing a re-branded Radisson hotel as a Canad Inn.

In the last days a magazine of what Centrepoint across from the MTS Centre and developed by Longboat and Artis shows that Milestone's Grill and Bar is opening at 311 Portage Avenue.

It is one of two restaurants proposed for the site. The other, revealed by the Free Press, is a local restaurant owner and his latest development. Pizzeria Gusto's owner on Academy Road will open a restaurant facing Donald Street. No word yet on what the style will be.

Milestone's Grill and Bar in Vancouver

Milestone's Grill and Bar started off in B.C. in 1989 but it was quickly snapped up by Cara Operations which owns Harvey's, Kelsey's and Swiss Chalet. They are now also in Ontario and Alberta.

The style of the restaurant is higher end than Swiss Chalet and many of the locations have patios. The menu ranges from steak, chicken, fish to pasta and salads with some gluten free items.

Standard Milestone's Grill and Bar in the Suburbs

It is going to be a while before opening day but all the pieces are starting to come together for Centrepoint. The Alt Hotel, Stantec Engineering central office, a parkade, condos and street-side restaurants.

It is sad that a Winnipeg Jets season is delayed due to the labour shortage. I know that some people dismiss it as overplaying positive effects downtown and elsewhere but one only has to be present to see that the crowd is larger, more prosperous and more willing to spend time and money before and after games.

All of the restaurants near the MTS Centre have seen a positive impact. Boston Pizza, Tavern United, Moxie's, Elephant and Castle. The effect expands beyond as well to Earl's and The Keg and Pony Corral.

The trick for the downtown is to connect more of the successful pieces. And yes, there are some successful pieces. It is not all a burned out ruin with death awaiting you at every turn.

To review the successful areas of downtown, let's make a list.

* The Forks

Only the most petulant of people would describe the site as a failure. It is a safe central gathering point with unique offerings of food, stores and entertainment.

* Broadway

It is a people watching plaza of office workers and street-side food trucks. Plus, some of the greatest concentrations of people live in apartments and condos stretching down to Assiniboine Avenue.

* Convention Centre

By far one of the most consistent draws of people for events. It is a two block area that has contributed to the economy and entertainment of people in the city for years.

* Waterfront Drive

Most successful new development and biggest contributor to new housing downtown.

The MTS Centre is a successful downtown facility. Some said it didn't live up to the hype as it didn't draw any new hotels and few newer restaurants. I think some people miss the point though. The MTS Centre was to replace a huge empty Eaton's building. And now the owners of the Jets along with other developers are looking to expand the footprint.

In many respects, it is the slow and steady work that worked well for The Forks.

Let's see what the presence of a few high traffic restaurants do for Portage Avenue. Welcome Milestone's.

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