Goodbye, Paddlewheel; Hello, Oliver & Bonacini

It’s been a Winnipeg institution for ages — but not for much longer. City residents will soon say goodbye to the Paddlewheel Restaurant at The Bay Downtown.

It’s part of a transformation of The Bay’s food services operations Winnipeggers are just learning about this lunch hour from an announcement made by The Bay this morning that it’s planning to contract out its restaurant operations.

Well known for its British cuisine such as Shepherd’s Pie and Fish and Chips (and possibly less well known as a pick-up joint) the Paddlewheel with be replaced with a Oliver & Bonacini restaurant that will offer “a wide array of freshly made sandwiches, salads, soups, hot entrées and daily chef’s specials”.

All Bay restaurant employees will be offered employment with the Compass Group Canada, which will operate the restaurants. No specific date was offered for the makeover of the Paddlewheel, but it’s part of a nationwide transition for The Bay that will begin in April.

Good or bad, feel free to share your stories about The Paddlewheel below.


About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

3 Responses to Goodbye, Paddlewheel; Hello, Oliver & Bonacini

  1. W. Krawec says:

    In the end, this will probably mean better food, service and ambience, and it will probably be much better for The Bay’s bottom line. I acknowledge that all of this will come at the cost of losing some local flavour, however archaic and corny it might be (it was even seen in Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg!)

    I’d be lying if I said that I would miss the Paddlewheel much. On the rare occasion that I’ve eaten there (and I’m someone who shops The Bay Downtown a lot), I often find it breathtakingly outdated and looking suspiciously like a cafeteria in a seniors’ home. Those aren’t necessarily good qualities for a business to have.

  2. theviewfromseven says:

    @ Walter: I agree — the new restaurant is something to look forward to and will be a welcome replacement for a restaurant whose time had come and gone.

    To underline the point about the Paddlewheel’s aged demographic, I stopped in there recently just for old times’ sake, and spotted a former substitute teacher who was a familiar face at my high school back in the ’80s. Considering that she was about 65-70 years old back in the mid and late ’80s, it was quite the surprise to see her still active and mobile enough all these years later to make a trip to the Paddlewheel entirely on her own.

  3. frotforthot says:

    …a few months ago I innocently entered that area to the right whereby one would enter up to the level beyond the french doors and I then heard the sound of automated slot machines (maybe 3) hidden behind partitions…curiously arose the question as to good qualities for a business and I felt inexplicably embarrassed to have spied them.

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