Toronto-based restaurant and bar chain Bier Markt will crack open its first Ottawa location next year, the company announced Tuesday.
In an OBJ interview, John Rothschild - the CEO of parent company Prime Restaurants, which also owns the D’Arcy McGee’s brand - confirmed the company would open in the former Zellers store on Sparks Street.
U.S. retailer Target acquired the lease for 156 Sparks St., at O’Connor Street, in 2011 as part of its purchase of 220 leases from Canadian discount retailer Zellers.
While the majority will become Target stores, the remaining leases were sold to other retailers or returned to landlords.
“It met all of our criteria. We're very excited about coming to Ottawa and offering our restaurant to the people of Ottawa. It will be great,” Mr. Rothschild said.
He added, “We think the area is going through a rejuvenation and more importantly, we love the old look, traditional look of the building.”
Although this is the first Bier Markt in Ottawa, Prime is already in the city with some of its other brands. The Sparks Street location is close to a D’Arcy McGee’s restaurant on the same road, Mr. Rothschild said, and the city is also host to several East Side Mario’s locations, among other brands.
Bier Markt brands itself as a European-style establishment, particularly focusing on Belgium. It sells more than 150 beer brands from 30 countries.
“Bier is really very international, and Ottawa really is, from the embassies to all the different cultures that are present in Ottawa, it’s an international hub,” said operating partner Rob Medal in an interview, adding the company had been scouting for a downtown location for years.
“It has that international look and feel, and we always have found it attractive.”
Extensive renovations are planned for the location, but Mr. Medal said where possible the old components of the building will be preserved.
The company plans to put a patio running the length of the building, which is “in and around” 10,000 square feet – among Bier’s biggest locations, Mr. Medal said. The company is considering whether to remove a mezzanine in the building, which would affect the footprint.
“We’ll include some unique features, which I won’t divulge at this point, to stamp the site as ours,” Medal said.
A design firm has not been selected yet, although it will likely be a company in Montreal that has worked with Beau’s before, Medal said.
The company currently has four locations in southern Ontario and plans to open a store in Montreal in November.