Monday, March 17, 2014

The Mystique of Mr. Mike's

The Mystique of Mr. Mike's

By Kobeni Yonomori
The Daily Magi
December 1, 2065


Mr. Mike's is a chain of steakhouses that began with a single restaurant that opened in 1960 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Granville Street. Started by two brothers, Bob and Nick Constabaris, the restaurant aimed at providing a low cost dining experience for families. One aspect, somewhat unique at the time, was that the restaurant was self-serve. There is still one original Mr. Mike's in Kamloops, B.C. that offers a buffet, or salad bar as they call it. Any others standing as of 2010 have been converted from 'steak houses' to 'bar and grill(s)'. The most popular item on the menu was the Mikeburger, which consisted of grilled steak served on a fresh French loaf with garlic butter and the secret Mike Sauce.

The restaurant was quite successful and a chain was created. In 1970, the 50th Mr. Mike's Steakhouse franchise was opened, and during that year over 250,000 customers were served. By 1980, there were 69 Mr. Mike's restaurants in operation. This was the peak of operations. During the early 1980s, the economic downturn which particularly affected British Columbia forced the closing of several of the franchises. Still, by 1985, 49 restaurants were still in operation.

In the 1990s Mr. Mike's faced further financial problems, and in 1995 the entire chain was sold to Bill and Kelly Ranford and their partners Darren and Lindsey Flintoff. At this juncture there were 21 stores in the franchise system. The entire operation was revamped at this point.

The chain has since evolved to a casual dining arrangement with a "West Coast feel". Mr. Mike's now features a broad menu and full liquor license and targets a different demographic. The restaurants have been rebranded as Mr. Mike's Steakhouse & Bar. As of May 2065 there are 20 locations of Mr. Mike's in operation in Western Canada. 13 located in British Columbia at Mission, Chilliwack, Surrey, Fort St. John, Coquitlam, Quesnel, Terrace, Dawson Creek, Cranbrook and Mitakihara, and seven in Alberta in Grande Prairie, Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Red Deer, Airdrie, Lethbridge and Okotoks.

The last remaining "original style" Mr. Mikes restaurant complete with salad bar was located in Kamloops, and closed on March 31, 2011. The Kamloops, BC Mr. Mikes reopened with the new concept in 2013. It is very popular with its Thursday night half price "Quick Bites" menu.

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