Big Rig Kitchen & Brewery is living up to its name, with expansion plans that will see the company grow across the country.
The Ottawa-based microbrewery has announced the upcoming opening of two new locations in Ontario. The first is set to open mid-May at Heartland Town Centre in Mississauga, closely followed by another in Richmond Hill.
These Greater Toronto Area debuts mark the company’s first locations outside Ottawa, with promises that this is just the beginning.
Founded in 2012, Big Rig Restaurants is iconic amongst Ottawa natives. Famous for its signature brews and menu (the name pays tribute to former Ottawa Senators defence man Chris Phillips), its brand’s promise is simple: ‘We are a microbrewery; committed to serving the best beer and a menu of comfort food favourites!’
Offering a casual dining atmosphere, homestyle food, and craft beer, it is a family-friendly restaurant with two popular locations, currently both in Ottawa. The craft beer list is extensive with various IPAs, radlers, and ales available.
The last 8 years have been busy for Big Rig. 2014 saw the addition of a state-of-the-art brewery, allowing the brand to expand its distribution of beer into retail outlets. Today, Big Rig’s award-winning beer is available in more than 1,000 locations in several provinces.
In June 2019, Foodtastic Inc., the Quebec-based franchisor of multiple restaurant concepts, acquired the Big Rig Brewery and Big Rig Restaurants brand.
As part of the deal with Foodtastic, award-winning brew master Lon Ladell stayed on board and continues to work his magic. "Foodtastic is an amazing company and I'm thrilled to continue being a part of Big Rig brewery's exciting future,” Ladell said at the time. “With the financial support from Foodtastic we can now expand our operations throughout Canada.”
Foodtastic, which operates 90 restaurants under 12 different banners, including Au Coq, La Belle et La Boeuf, Benny Rotisseries, Blossom, Gatto Matto, Monza, Carlos & Pepe's, Chocolato, Souvlaki Bar, Nickels, and Bacaro, is a leader in the restaurant franchising business with $170 million in annualized sales.
Recently, the company acquired two Les 3 Brasseurs sites—Heartland Town Centre in Mississauga and York Boulevard in Richmond Hill—renovations are underway to turn both into the highly-anticipated Big Rig locations.
The Heartland Town Centre is one of Canada’s largest and busiest power centres, with brands often choosing Heartland as a suitable home for expansion. Often described as a hybrid centre due to its mixture of full-price and outlet stores, Heartland welcomed retail giant Nordstrom Rack in September 2018.
This recent announcement is merely the first step in a larger plan to aggressively expand the Big Rig brand throughout the Greater Toronto Area and Vancouver.
This expansion is in keeping with Foodtastic’s vision for the brand and its mandate to ramp up growth with new and existing brands following a $47-million investment from Restaurant Royalty Partners in December 2018.
Following the Big Rig acquisition, Peter Mammas, Foodtastic president and CEO, said: “We look forward to preserving Big Rig's strong brand, while growing the restaurant system across the region… This acquisition of a homegrown Ontario business is consistent with our strategy of acquiring quality brands with growth potential that complement our existing brand portfolio.”
The search is on for 5,500-square-foot properties with 1,200-square-foot patios in malls, along busy high streets, and in large open-air centres for the next Big Rig Kitchen & Brewery locations. Tony Flanz of Think Retail is working with Big Rig for its real estate selection.