For the last couple of years, students have passed by King Street and University Avenue wondering exactly when and what is opening beside the Starbucks plaza. Finally, the building is up and businesses are starting to open.
Last Friday, Gino’s Pizza had its grand opening, the first of the three businesses to open at the 253 King St. N. location. Ye’s Sushi and Shoeless Joe’s will also be operating out of that location.
“There used to be a Gino’s here ten years ago and they have always wanted one in Waterloo,” explained Rajid, a current employee of Gino’s Pizza.
He claimed that Gino’s will be able to differentiate itself from the many pizza joints in the area because “it has an authentic Italian taste to it and is different from other pizza places.”
Gino’s is open until 2 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, 3 a.m. Thursday and 5 a.m. over the weekend.
As for the Ye’s Sushi and Shoeless Joe’s openings, students will have to wait a little bit longer. According Alison Krokoszynski, beverage and marketing manager of Shoeless Joe’s, the restaurant is scheduled to open up April 4.
“We really want to be involved and give back to the community, and create an environment of team spirit,” said Krokoszynski. “We are not sure if we are going to get involved with the student card, SPC card, or maybe even house our own student discounts. All of those ideas are still up in the air.”
Krokoszynski commented that she loves how Shoeless Joe’s is at the heart of the Kitchener-Waterloo area and that they are in such close proximity to both universities and also to so many different businesses, which will contribute to a lot of customer traffic.
“A home-team advantage program will be offered to all kinds of athletic teams, social groups, fraternities and sororities,” explained Krokoszynski. “We will keep track of all of the food purchases of that group and we will give back 15 per cent to them, so they can do events here or even get catering.”
Shoeless Joe’s will also incorporate a rooftop patio and bar into its restaurant.
Regarding Ye’s Sushi, little information is yet to be released. However, Dan Dawson, assistant VP of student affairs, was able to shed some light.
“We haven’t heard anything official, but I understand it is to open this summer some time, at the earliest spring,” said Dawson. “Whenever there is new locations, it gives the students more choice and flexibility, but also causes the businesses to focus on creative marketing and good customer service.”
According to Dawson, the new businesses will have to earn the success they deserve in order to keep up with constant evolution and change in the hospitality industry.