A new watering hole will be setting up shop in Brandon, and it’s being touted as a hybrid between a neighbourhood pub and upscale casual dining.
"We have the mentality of ‘Cheers,’ where everybody knows your name, so to speak," said Andrea Baxter, director of marketing with Browns Restaurant Group. "It’s much more community, neighbourhood focused."
Browns Socialhouse will be built where the former A&W restaurant was located, at 1847 Queens Ave. Construction of the two-storey building is expected to take five to six months, and Baxter says if all goes well, the doors should be open by October.
"We’re excited. I think just with the uniqueness that we’ve got in terms of the smaller footprint, we’ve really immersed ourselves in these smaller, tighter-knit communities," she said.
The Brandon location will be the first franchise in Manitoba; however, the company plans to open two more in Winnipeg in 2014-15 as well.
The first Browns Socialhouse opened in 2004 in North Vancouver by CEO Scotty Morison. Since then, the chain has expanded to more than 25 locations in Canada, primarily in B.C. The company now has opened locations in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, and is continuing east to Manitoba and Ontario.
"That was always our goal, to expand outside of B.C. and now we’re in three different provinces, going into four," Baxter said.
The company’s first corporate training location and restaurant will be opening in Erin Mills, Ont., in September.
Browns Restaurant Group also includes Scotty Browns, which has three locations in Washington state.
"We want people to come in, we want them to feel at home, we want them to socialize with their neighbours," Baxter said.
The Brandon location will include a large, enclosed patio with a fire pit area to be used year-round.
"Even in the winter time, it’s that extra space that people can still dine on because it will be a heated patio," she said. "That cosy living room feel."
The restaurant/bar will be one storey, while offices will be on the second storey.
Baxter said the local owner/operator of the franchise is Blake Trotter, who is president and chief operating officer of Brandon’s Wendy’s restaurant.
"He’s been in the restaurant business for a long time, which is something that we look for in owner/operators," she said. "Really experienced people that know the restaurant industry in and out."
Trotter could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Baxter said the hiring process for servers, hosts and cooks will happen in the few months before the restaurant opens.
» Twitter: @jillianaustin