COVID-19 has caused the failure of some businesses in Maple Ridge, but there is also good news in the arrival of new enterprises downtown.
The downtown institution Bella Vita has closed its doors, but two new restaurants are about to open. Sammy J’s Grill and Bar will unveil it’s fourth location in Maple Ridge, and right beside it will be another new cafe called The Nut.
Both are located in the new Brickwater development on 119th Avenue. Both plan to open near the end of June, capitalizing on summertime, and the recent relaxing of public health orders that have likely created some pent-up demand for dining out.
Sammy J’s has restaurants in Langley, Surrey, Kelowna, and now at the the new location. It celebrated its 25th anniversary on Thursday. President Mike Gardner has been there since the beginning, and was joined by his brother Steve in 2010 and their father, who is a silent partner.
“We’ve been looking at Maple Ridge for years,” said Steve. “In the last year, we’ve started getting serious.”
He said the clientelle in a large “trendy development” like the Brickwater makes the location attractive. Their big 50-seat patio will be part of the inner courtyard of the development, with fountains, public art and a park setting.
There will be about another 100 seats inside, and they provide a sports bar atmosphere with “a good night vibe.”
“Maple Ridge is full of our kind of customers,” said Steve. “It’s a fun place for people to come and celebrate, or watch a game.”
He provides a marketting and sales background, while Mike has been a longtime restaurateur – he actually opened the Red Robin two blocks away as the GM.
“It’s a real family operation, and we’re delighted,” said Denise Gunn of Falcon Homes, who built The Brickwater. “We wanted a restaurant there, and Sammy J’s is a great fit.”
The Nut is a place for juices, coffee, quick snacks and “clean eats.”
“We source crave worthy clean eats and make wellness way more approachable. We’re a micro grocer celebrating small business by stocking goods from local and Canadian brands. We’re a hub built for gathering and an incubator of community,” said the social media page.
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