Opening in 1960 at 911 Granville in Vancouver, the very first MR MIKES was the ultimate definition of a casual steakhouse. A cafeteria-style restaurant where you grabbed a tray, ordered at the grill, then served yourself when your steak was cooked.
It was the brainchild of two brothers; neither was Mike. Go figure. Bob and Nick Constabaris felt that good steak should be affordable for everyone. Well, surprise, surprise. It turned out to be an extremely popular concept. For those not ready for steak, the brothers offered up the now famous Mikeburger which is still on the menu today.
From white collar cubicle workers or trades and industry workers with a taste for value to bell-bottomed, tie-dyed flower children with a powerful case of the munchies, MR MIKES was a hit. With everyone,
The brothers decided to take their phenomenally successful cafeteria steakhouse format and franchise it. They first expanded to Vancouver Island, then Kamloops, and the rest is, well, history.
Somewhere in the late 60’s they came up with the idea of their famous salad bar. Guests could graze to their hearts content while waiting for their main course. Wildly popular, the term Megalicious began to be associated in MR MIKES advertising, highlighting the ‘bottomless’ nature of this unique feature.
The chain continues to grow, serving over 250,000 hungry customers a month. Lettuce farmers and cattle ranchers in Canada do a happy dance.
In 1980, Canada faced its worst fall economy in 30 years. The downtown ticks up and most restaurants come through with sales increases. When times are tough, people eat steak. Parliament rejects the introduction of a bill to declare steak a comfort food.
Speaking of government, provincial taxes began making it tougher for franchisees to make money with a no-frills concept. Time for a rethink.
Darren & Lindsey Flintoff partnered with Bill & Kelly Ranford to acquire the chain and turn the concept into a full-service West Coast-themed steakhouse. Goodbye, Megalicious salad bar.
With a new open kitchen grill and West Coast themed interior design, the first new style MR MIKES reopened throughout BC, starting in Terrace, Dawson Creek, Quesnel and so on. They were a big hit in every market. Affordable steaks! Woo Hoo!
Restaurant theming and advertising celebrate West Coast spirit …and wackiness. An impromptu shot of three guys wading into water in their skivvies wearing antlers made from twigs became an iconic image. Just why, nobody knows.
MR MIKES officially becomes a Steakhouse & Bar. Grande Prairie, AB, becomes the first Alberta community to experience MR MIKES brand of steak insanity, followed by Red Deer, Edmonton, and Calgary.
Oh, and the guys with the Antlers? Our accountants after a few too many Antler Ales.
MR MIKES saw a surge of new energy when the franchise was taken on by a group of senior restaurant industry specialists under the banner RAMMP Hospitality Brands in 2010.
MR MIKES rebrands to accurately define its true steak soul, and in the process, creating a new dining category – SteakhouseCasual
No fancy frills. No stuffed shirt attitudes. Just real people and great food. Everything guests want in a steakhouse. Only casual.
The first flagship SteakhouseCasual location re-opens in Prince George, followed by Quesnel. New markets like Yorkton, SK and Bonnyville, AB also welcome the new SteakhouseCasual concept with open arms.