Calgary-based Original Joe’s is starting to multiply on the Island.
The casual dining restaurant will open new locations before the end of this month in Duncan and at Tuscany Village in Saanich.
That doubles the restaurant’s Island footprint with existing restaurants in Nanaimo and Langford. But the beer-and-burger-styled joint is not stopping there.
“It’s pretty exciting times,” said Ed Gackley, Vancouver-based area manager for Original Joe’s. “We will see further expansion out here. We are looking at Courtenay/Comox and another site that is hush-hush right now.”
Gackley said they are just giving people on the Island what they seem to want.
“When we opened Langford, it was our busiest B.C. store. When Nanaimo opened, they were right neck-and-neck in terms of sales,” he said, adding the company asked the operators of those two locations to expand.
The result will see Dirk Britton, who operates the Langford location, open and operate the Tuscany Village site. Rebecca Baich, who operates Nanaimo, will step into the Duncan market.
The Duncan restaurant will open March 24 and the Tuscany Village location is slated to open a week later. Both will have 80 staff.
The Duncan location is being established in what was a Blockbuster Video store, and the Tuscany Village location will step into the footprint of Applebee’s, which closed last year after less than three years in operation.
Gackley said both sites are Original Joe’s from the ground up. “We don’t do anything half-way,” he said. “They are fully renovated locations, we went from bottom up. We got all the rooms and made them our own.”
That included stripping Applebee’s down to a concrete slab and starting over.
“Interest has certainly been piqued there, there’s been a lot of people poking their noses in to see what’s going on,” he said. “We are really excited about that location.”
Gackley said like at all Original Joe’s, customers will be hit with a wide selection of beer — 18 taps, generally of local or micro-brewed beer — a broad wine list and a menu that features large portions, myriad side-dish options and cooking almost exclusively from scratch. “It’s about quality and value,” he said.
Original Joe’s, which now boasts 16 locations in B.C., 35 in Alberta and seven in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, is now back on track in terms of B.C. exposure.
“We wanted to expand into B.C. quite a while ago, but we were slowed a little by the financial crunch,” said Gackley.
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