“We’ve done it twice,” says Andrea, “and we’ll do it again.”
The Case of Blue Plate Diner
Located two blocks away, Blue Plate Diner, on Stony Plain Road, closed its doors on July 31.
Rima Devitt and John Williams started the restaurant 18 years ago on 104th Street. After losing their location to make way for the proposed Mackenzie Tower development, Devitt and Williams looked at a places downtown and on 124th street. They looked for places leasing for the same price as their old locations, but only found spaces with half of the size.
“We were running out of time,” recalls Devitt.
However, “many of the places we looked up several years ago are still empty now,” says Devitt. “Do they prefer the place being empty than renting it to someone who’d take good care of it?”
The years have been difficult for Devitt and Williams since they relocated to Stony Plain Road. The location wasn’t facing 124th Street, which wasn’t great for foot traffic. Devitt says the restaurant also lost part of its identity since moving off of 104th Street.
“A lot of people didn’t know we moved,” she says. “Then COVID hit, and that was devastating.”
Industry-wise, there has been a shift lately. Devitt sees people prefer ordering food via delivery services, and spend less time when they visit restaurants. Smaller restaurants that offer quick and easy meals have been more popular.
Devitt also mentioned the life span of restaurants. It’s not like she didn’t think of reopening Blue Plate Diner in another location, again.