Earls to Launch New Restaurant Concept as Chain Expands Locations [Interview]

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Canadian restaurant brand Earls has some major plans coming up for the Burnaby, BC market with growth plans as well for other markets.

Sharilyn Mason, the company’s Chief Development Officer, confirmed the brand will be opening a Birdies Eats & Drinks restaurant in June at 3850 Lougheed Highway, which is the former spot of Earls Bridge Park, which closed recently after 26 years.

That closure was to facilitate the opening of a new location at The Amazing Brentwood, which is located close to its former location.

Birdies Eats & Drinks (Image: Earls Restaurants Ltd)

Earls Restaurants Ltd. is a family-owned operation started by Leroy Earl (Bus) Fuller and his son Stan Fuller in 1982 with its first restaurant in Edmonton. Earls has since grown to become one of the most successful, family-owned independent restaurant groups in North America with 68 locations across Canada (58) and the US (10).

The brand is from British Columbia to Ontario with headquarters in Vancouver.

Sharilyn Mason

Mason said in the past year Earls has opened two new restaurants – across from CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto and in downtown Winnipeg.

The Brentwood location will open February 16.

“Being a 40-year-old company, how restaurant deals were done and the types of projects that we looked at 40 years ago, or 25 years ago, they were traditionally path locations. As we’ve seen projects come online and super regional shopping centres, we’re taking the opportunity to really upgrade Earls real estate to get us closer and more connected to transit-oriented centres where that key concentration of density is,” said Mason.

“We’ve relocated a number of stores over the past few years and they’re quite successful in terms of growing our store volumes. The reason we chose Amazing Brentwood is for all of those reasons. It’s transit-oriented. There’s a high concentration of residential density along with some office components around there. We’ve loved being part of the Plaza and if you will it’s going to kind of be the downtown of Burnaby. Those are the dynamics that we loved about it. And just the ease of our guests being able to access us.”

Rendering of Earls at The Amazing Brentwood (Image: Earls Restaurant Group)

The Amazing Brentwood, a co-venture by Shape Properties, Healthcare of Ontario Pension, and L Catterton Real Estate, is one of British Columbia’s largest master-planned, mixed-use developments, says the project on its website.

“Located in Burnaby’s Brentwood neighbourhood, it will feature world-class shops, restaurants, public plazas, entertainment, and 6,000+ new homes. With its stunning indoor/outdoor public space and design, size and scale, connectivity, and diverse and compelling tenant mix, The Amazing Brentwood will be a one-of-a-kind urban gathering place that reflects the vibe of Metro Vancouver’s global community. The Amazing Brentwood’s phased opening begins now,” it says.

“The Amazing Brentwood is transforming into an urban gathering place that’s going to change the way people experience shopping, dining and entertainment. A global place that captures the heartbeat of humanity.”

Earls said the new location is designed with the Burnaby guest in mind and will be located on the plaza level of The Amazing Brentwood just steps from the Skytrain station. It is near the plaza’s stunning water feature and bustling open-air space. It includes a lounge, dining room, island bar and a patio that will extend out onto the plaza. It will also have a pick-up window for pick-up orders.

The exterior from Queensway + North Queen Street of the new Earls Sherway (CNW Group/Earls Restaurant Group)

The Earls internal design team, consisting of Lead Designer Kimberly Hume and Creative Director Elly Chronakis, developed the “Modern Design meets Earthy Comfort” style of Earls Brentwood. 

“Inspired by The Amazing Brentwood’s timeless aesthetic and open-air shopping concept, Earls Brentwood utilizes warm elemental materials, lush greenery, and ample natural light to create a stylish and welcoming space where indoors and outdoors seamlessly connect. As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to supporting local artists, the walls of Earls Brentwood will feature collections from both Burnaby and BC based artists Rande Cook, Tafui, and Dina Gonzales,” says the company. 

“Earls newest BC restaurant will beautifully showcase the brand’s commitment to creating individually compelling restaurants.”

“We wanted this Earls location to truly reflect the diversity, energy and lifestyle of the Burnaby guest,” said Kristin Vekteris, Chief Brand Officer “Burnaby is a neighbourhood brimming with life, and many young families, students, and millennials call Burnaby, and The Amazing Brentwood, home. This location is designed with them in mind.” 

When asked if more Birdies are in the Earls future, Mason replied: “Obviously we’re in the business of multi-unit operations. If my money was put on it, I would say the likelihood is high.”

Renovated Earls Restaurant at 150 King Street West in Toronto (Image: BUILD IT By Design)
Renovated Earls Restaurant at 150 King Street West in Toronto (Image: BUILD IT By Design)

Mason said the company is committed to six new restaurant openings for the Earls brand in the next 18 months – three are in Toronto, one in Calgary, one in Miami and the Brentwood location.

“We’ve had strong results coming out of the pandemic and people are going out and they are consuming. We’re seeing that in our sales. We’re also seeing that in our average guest cheque,” she said. 

Continuing their commitment to compelling restaurant designs tailored to each neighbourhood, Earls Test Kitchen and Earls Robson will also be undergoing renovations in 2023 to further enhance the individual interiors into more lively, comfortable and compelling guest experiences.

“If you’ve seen our new Earls locations we’ve really elevated our design and our menu offerings,” said Mason. 

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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