'We're still here'

Economy Owner of My Brother's Place franchise to rebrand St. John's restaurant

Terry Roberts editor@cbncompass.ca
Published on March 13, 2009

The owner of the only remaining My Brother's Place in the St. John's area is being forced to adapt following the closure of two other restaurants of the same name.

My Brother's Place restaurants on Torbay Road in St. John's and a recently opened location in Conception Bay South have gone out of business.

The owner of the only remaining My Brother's Place in the St. John's area is being forced to adapt following the closure of two other restaurants of the same name.

My Brother's Place restaurants on Torbay Road in St. John's and a recently opened location in Conception Bay South have gone out of business.

The Topsail Road location, owned by Tom Byrne, and another restaurant in Corner Brook, remain open. Both restaurants are franchises, and operate independently, Byrne explained.

"We're here. We're in full operation. It's business as usual with us. We've been a successful business and we're going to carry on," Byrne said Thursday.

Brothers Chad and Jeff Davis created the local restaurant chain in the 1990s. It's believed Chad took full control of the business just recently. At one point, a My Brother's Place also operated at Mile One Centre in downtown St. John's.

Byrne joined with the Davis brothers and another partner to open the Topsail Road location in November 2000. Byrne and his wife Jo-Ann became sole owners of the franchise a year and a half ago.

But now that the founders of the chain are no longer in business, Byrne plans a major overhaul of his location. In the coming months, customers will be introduced to a new name, a new atmosphere and a new menu.

"We see this as an opportunity to give our business a fresh new look," Byrne said.

The Topsail Road restaurant employs 24 people, and has been experiencing a steady growth in business, Byrne explained. But he said news of the closure has had an impact.

"A lot of people think we're tied in also and that we're no longer in business, which is not the case," Byrne said.

Customers who have gift certificates purchased from the restaurants that closed are also out of luck. Byrne said he can't honour the certificates, because it would mean a loss for his business.

"I can't recoup that money from the other locations. It's unfortunate, and I feel bad," Byrne stated, adding that he will offer a discount to those who have gift certificates purchased from the former locations.

It's not the first challenge faced by Byrne. Two years ago, vandals started a fire at the rear of the restaurant, forcing the business to close temporarily for repairs.

Chad Davis could not be reached for comment.

troberts@thetelegram.com