Monday, May 26, 2008

Locations white people like

At a party on the weekend, the new Stella's Cafe on Sherbrook and Westminster came up in conversation, which led to remarks on how Winnipeg has some excellent local chain stores, Ie- Stella's, The Fyxx, and McNally Robinson.

Stopping in there on Sunday, every table in the large restaurant was occupied, and the line went back to the front door. Opting out of standing in line, I instead went to The Nook down street, which also happened to be packed. I've been to this new Stella's a few times before, each time arriving early enough (before 9 A.M.) to avoid the line.

As far as white people in this city are concerned, there is nothing better than Stella's, and the owners deserve credit for capitalizing on what is perhaps the "whitest," but completely unassuming, location in the city.

While Corydon, Taylor or South Osborne are in the centre of South End neighborhoods, three middle class goldmines feed into Sherbrook Street. It may seem far, but Sherbrook and Westminster is very much in power-walking distance of Crescentwood across the river. Then of course, there is the Trotskyite yuppies of Wolseley, and the denizens of Armstrong Point, not to mention the hipsters (and the more adventurous yuppies) of West Broadway--the former "Murder's half acre." (North of Portage, meanwhile, is decidedly the domain of the Black Sheep Diner.)

Stella's success on Sherbrook serves as a good affront to Winnipeg's tepid entrepreneurial spirit, and the insular local commercial logic. It is still comparatively "inner city," and directly across the street from the Sherbrook Hotel--a landmark of West Broadway's dangerous and seedy past. Many would have been surprised that Stella's chose this location over the supposedly "safer" (financially and physically) Taylor or Corydon as a third location, but many people also didn't give Yuki Sushi at Main and Rupert much longer than three months (which, in spite of slow service, does a good business after 11). The keen enterpriser will smile all the way to the bank, while the insular locals are proven wrong as they wait for a spot in the latest cool place to eat.

(Check out Stuff White People Like, a blog that gets almost as much traffic as mine does)


Anonymous bart said...

Hey. I resent being called adventurous. I am nothing of the sort. I was attracted by the low property values and plentiful pawn shops.

12:02 PM  
Blogger The Rise and Sprawl said...

Take it from me, if low property values and an abundance of pawn shops is what you want, should have moved where I did--where PAWNdora's Box is within walking distance.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Louis Riel said...

My ladyfriend and I were sitting in the Nook a few months ago and thinking, y'know somebody should open a 'classier' breakfast joint in the area to capitalize on the giant untapped hippy-sheep market of Wolseley.

And voila. There you have it.

The Black Sheep & Yuki rule.
Stella's is for River Heights mavens who think it makes them cool.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog and learning about all the urban issues of Winnipeg when I'm not at home. Speaking of Winnipeg chains, I went to New York last week and there was a McNally Robinson across the street from the Chip and Pepper store!
Keep posting your mind and never mind the naysayers.


6:42 PM  

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