|Mr. Steak circa 1970s|
But what of the chain restaurants?
In the 1970s, we had Mr. Steak which gave Winnipeggers a first taste of a chain restaurant steakhouse. The location on Pembina Highway beyond the University of Manitoba seemed like one of the last stops before the end of town.
During the heyday of the Winnipeg Jets, Chi-Chi's at Polo Park used to pack them in. A few locations graced the city but fell one by one over the years. Chi Chi's and Finger's stood where Silver City theatres now stand in the mall parking lot.
The Country Kitchen restaurant was all over the city of Winnipeg. Even when others disappeared across North America, the one on Queen Elizabeth Way kept ticking along. Eventually prolonged bridge construction work killed it off. Want to know where the last Country Kitchen in Canada is: Winkler.
|Country Kitchen in Heartland Inn, Winkler|
Harvey's, a large Canadian chain, has tried to crack the Winnipeg market a few times. It had a location on Pembina Highway, some in Home Depots and the airport. All are closed now.
Longhorn's Texas Steakhouse gave it a go on Leila but they didn't do enough to redecorate and even had the old Branigan's frosted class in place with a B on it after they opened.
Pete and Marty's was a franchise that closed in Polo Park and is where Moxie's is now. Mr. Greenjean's was an old favourite in Eaton Place, now occupied by Boston Pizza.
A few Winnipeg franchise restaurants have failed after many years in business. As just mentioned above Branigans used to have locations all over the city and even had one in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Grape's was around for decades but alas, they are all gone now. Schmecker's used to have a few locations. Papa George's closed their last location this year. Grubee's was Winnipeg's attempt to create a burger chair to compete with the McDonald's of the world. Several locations closed back in the 1970s.
Mayor's Katz's Hu's Restaurants are all closed now.
In recent years, we have seen the slow retreat of KFC from Winnipeg. Quizno's has started closing places. Kelsey's had two locations shut the same day.
I am sure I have forgotten some of the chains that have closed. Some will say we are better off but many places were family favourites.
Edit: Just been reminded that Harvey's has returned and opposite the University of Winnipeg. And also at the airport?
Also Mother's Pizza with two locations on Regent and Pembina Highway. A mainstay in the 1980s till they dashed back to Ontario.
Just remembered Chuck-E-Cheese on Pembina Highway and Fuddrucker's on St. James near Polo Park. If my recollection is correct, it was owned by some Winnipeg Jets.