The city is hoping a famous hockey name will mean the second time is the charm for its foray into the restaurant business. 

Councillors voted Monday to sign a lease for Wendel Clark's Classic Grill and Bar to move into the large corner space in the historic Lister Block. The Wendel Clark franchise was the only suitable bidder for the space that housed a high-priced steakhouse before the city was forced to change the locks. 

The general issues committee voted to sign a 10-year lease with Muscat-Taylor Financial Holdings Inc. and WC Franchising Inc. Over 10 years, the lease will bring the city $512,550.

The city spent millions to renovate the Lister Block, which dates back to 1923. It first leased the space to Chris DesRoches, who briefly ran 28 Lister Chophouse Grill. In November, the city terminated that lease and changed the locks when DesRoches didn't pay the rent.


Wendel Clark made his name scoring goals for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Now he'll count on that name to convince hungry Hamiltonians to eat at his restaurant, to be located at the historic Lister Block. (Jerry S. Mendoza/Associated Press)

The city received two RFPs to replace 28 Lister, a staff report says, and one didn’t comply with the criteria. 

The franchise holders Louis and Karen Muscat sat in the council chambers all day waiting for the vote. They are "excited and nervous" to be moving into the Lister Block, Louis Muscat told CBC Hamilton.

“We’re excited right now, as you can tell,” said Louis Muscat, who is from the St. George area. “Scared and nervous but excited.

“We’re excited to be part of a growing city and Wendel Clark will do very well.

Council will ratify the vote on April 8. After that, the Muscats say, they hope to get in right away and begin renovating, with an eye to open on July 1.