From burritos and burgers to nouveau Italian and a tea café, Winnipeg is in the midst of a restaurant rush.
At least six, locally owned restaurants are opening their doors this spring, with more on the way.
"I think the global recession skipped Winnipeg," says Alexander Svenne, owner of Bistro 7 1/4 and menu consultant for Local Burger, which is expected to open in early June.
Local Burger, will open in early June beside Nucci's on Corydon. (Robin Summerfield)
Located at 645 Corydon, the restaurant will serve a dozen signature burgers including a design-your-own option. All the meat will be ground in-house.
A 50-seat rooftop patio will crown the new spot, an idea Svenne hopes other neighborhood restaurants emulate.
"There's been a bit of revival (in Winnipeg's restaurant industry)," says restaurateur Duncan Grant, who owns Café Carlo, Bonfire Bistro and Burrito Del Rio. "I think a lot of it has been young, innovative people trying new things."
Shaun Ursell (in yellow T-shirt), manager of the new Burrito Del Rio location on Corydon, touches up the exterior before opening day. (Robin Summerfield)
Burrito Del Rio will open its second location on Corydon Avenue in late May, in Fresh Café's former home.
Corydon Avenue seems to be the epicentre of the new openings. Tea Story Café will launch its second location at 653 Corydon by the end of May.
"There are so many new, great restaurants popping up and so many great ideas," says Daniel Song, co-owner of Tea Story.
Down the street, construction crews are transforming the former Red Cactus for a future re-opening.
Owner Shea Ritchie at Chaise Cafe and Lounge, the newest addition to the St. Boniface restaurant scene. (Robin Summerfield)
The openings are not limited to Corydon. In St. Boniface, Chaise Café and Lounge opened April 19 in the former home of La Trattoria. It offers a huge street-facing patio, dinner entrées in the $15 range and a broad dessert selection.
In Chinatown, Yea Dim Sum threw open its doors March 20. Chez Sophie's new location on the Esplanade Riel is scheduled to open in early June.
Downtown diners won't have long to mourn the closing of the highly praised Arkadash earlier this year. Milestones, Carbone and Bobby Mottola of Pizzeria Gusto plan to open new restaurants in the next year or so.
Svenne predicts established restaurants will step up their game to compete with the new eateries, and that will benefit Winnipeg's reputation as a top-notch food city.
"I don't fear the competition, I encourage it," says Svenne. "The more, the merrier."