Mr. Mikes steakhouse ‘a home-run’

by Michelle Allenberg, The Tribune

Wellanders now have another choice when it comes to dining out.

Mr. Mikes Steakhouse Casual has been serving up medium-rare orders on Niagara Street near Seaway Mall since opening Nov. 21. The Welland location is the chain’s first to open in Ontario.

Mike Gowan and his two brothers, Paul Gowan and Don Gowan, partnered with their friend Greg Smith to open the restaurant. The four partners are longtime Welland residents and have a deep connection to the people and community.

Rick Villalpando, vice-president of business development, said the Mr. Mikes team felt the four men were a perfect fit for the franchise. When looking to branch out, Villalpando said, the franchise looks for small towns with people who are deeply rooted in their community — Welland felt like the perfect place.

“We are looking for people who are giving back to the community and are really involved in the community,” he said.

The four owners will fundraise to support local charities and organizations.

Before officially opening the restaurant staff hosted a trial run which was free to the public. All tips given to staff during the trial were donated to the Niagara chapter of Autism Ontario. Mike Gowan said a total $6,200 was donated. Staff will continue to contribute to various organizations in the future.

Gowan said the franchise is something Welland was missing and needed. The restaurant offers affordable steak options and has both a dining room and bar area. In the bar area people can play board games while having dinner or a drink.

The restaurant will feature a patio during warmer months, which Smith said he thinks will be a big hit.

Villalpando said Welland is in a “renaissance.” He said with people moving to Niagara from the GTA, and with construction of a GE plant, Welland is booming and growing.

“Results of the first week have been phenomenally well … People have been making wonderful comments about the Mr. Mikes. It’s a home-run for us,” he said.

Gowan and Smith agreed, saying they had to double their meat order in the first week because sales exceeded expectations.

“We’ve got people from all over the region coming here,” Smith said.