Tag: centre st

    A proposal to replace the old arena with an attraction

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    In last week’s “Center Gift Shop” torn down for a parking lot posting, regular visitor Drafty left a comment about another potential development in the city. Apparently the old arena on Centre St may be torn down to make way for an attraction that is a big boat (Drafty guess the Titanic). The a document on the city web site (or here if the city website link changes) indicates the application came from a David van Velzen. I searched for his name on Google, and the top result is a link to a LinkedIn profile. his title is “Owner/Director at The Titanic Project Inc”

    I drive by the old arena twice a day on my way to and from work, and I’ve never noticed any notice of public meeting. After Drafty linked to the document, the next time I drove over I pulled over to check out the building. As you can see by the pictures, I don’t imagine there were many people who could see the “Notice of Public Meeting” behind the glass on the door third from the right!

    You may recall that at one point HOCO Limited (the company that owns the south side of Clifton Hill, the company I work for) was considering a Titanic attraction.

    Dinner at Sparks Steakhouse – Part 1

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    Back in August I blogged about a new restaurant in Niagara Falls, Sparks Steakhouse. This used to be the location of The Beef Baron on Centre St, but at some point it had re-opened as two separate restaurants. One portion of the building is Maharaja Grand which sells South Asian (Indian) food, while another part is Sparks Steakhouse.

    A couple of weeks ago I received an email from the General Manager. He had seen my posting, and invited me to come and check it out. Well, about two weeks ago my wife and I went and had the most wonderful meal.

    Note: The meal was courtesy of Sparks Steakhouse. I hope that you accept my comments here honest, and not just because they offered me a complimentary meal. The food truly was amazing, and the service was exceptional.

    Seeing as I was there on a cold night in late Fall, the restaurant was not very busy. This gave me lots of time to chat with our server, Walter, as well as one of the owners. Jordan, the General Manager, was not there that night.

    The original owners of The Beef Baron sold the restaurant to someone several years ago. The restaurant continued under that new ownership until this past Spring, when the current ownership bought it. I commented that I hadn’t really seen any promotion for the new restaurants, and they said they originally had some plans, but then were delayed. Despite the lack of advertising, they had a very good summer.

    The new owners have the rights to The Beef Baron name, but decided to go a different direction. With plans to open part of the building as a restaurant selling South Asian (Indian) food, they wanted to  choose a name that was less “beef” themed (cows are considered sacred in the Hindu faith). They decided on the name Sparks Steakhouse, and decided to use a mobster theme. There are prints on the walls of John Gotti and others.

    Although the two restaurants are in the same building, they are two distinct restaurants. The large doors are for Maharaja Grand, and a smaller door on the right is for Sparks Steakhouse. On the evening we were there, since business was slow, they were using only the main doors (you can get from one restaurant to the other from inside). As we walked into Maharaja Grand, you could smell a hint of spices that would be used when cooking South Asian (Indian) food. However, as soon as we walked over to the Sparks Steakhouse side, the smell was gone. When the separate door to Sparks Steakhouse is used, I would assume you wouldn’t notice the smell of spices at all. We asked about this, and was told that they are very aware that people may have concerns about going into a steakhouse and they won’t smell the steak. We were told that food is cooked on different stoves/grills in the kitchen, and that the exhaust fans are always running to minimize the smell. I’m not sure what it would be like when the restaurants are a lot busier, but it seemed fine when we were there.

    The restaurant is very nicely decorated. My wife said it was “classy, but comfortable”. We enjoy good food, but overly “fancy” restaurants kind of make us uncomfortable. Sparks Steakhouse is definitely on the higher end of restaurants that we would go to, but compared to others we’ve been to, felt quite comfortable there. The lighting was low, but not too dim. Since we were there near the beginning of the Christmas season, there was some nice classic Christmas background music.

    Here are a few other pictures I took while inside the restaurant:

    Be sure to read the Dinner at Sparks Steakhouse – Part 2 posting…

    Victoria Ave roadwork is done

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    I know these photos aren’t particularly exciting, but if you’ve been in the Falls over the last couple of months, this is definitely good news. The construction work that was happening on Victoria Ave between Clifton Hill/Centre St and Walnut St is now complete. It finished a couple of weeks ago. The road has been realigned slightly, sidewalks made wider and infrastructure improved.

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    Sparks Steakhouse and Maharaja Grand replaces Beef Baron

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    I make it to a lot of places in the Niagara Falls tourist district, but sometimes I miss the obvious. A perfect example…
    I have been seeing signs around for Sparks Steakhouse, and never paid much attention to them. Then recently, while I was walking along Centre St, I noticed that the Beef Baron was no longer called Beef Baron. It is now Sparks Steakhouse and Maharaja Grand.

    The Beef Baron website does not say that it is closed permanently. It says it is closed for renovations.

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    I don’t know if I ever ate at Beef Baron, but my parents had, and my father loved it. I’m sure Sparks and Maharaja Grand are both very nice as well.

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    Ma Agretto’s is now Cantina Jack’s

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    (Note: I had a couple of drafts get posted. Sorry about this. This is the proper posting)

    I’ve posted at least 7 times about the Ma Agretto (start here and work backwards from there). Ma Agretto’s was torn down, Jack’s Cantina burned down, and now the new building where Ma Agretto’s was is now a new Cantina Jack’s.

    Old Jack’s Cantina location

    Facade work on new Ma Agretto’s building

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    The new building that is going up at the corner of Ellen Ave and Centre St (former Ma Agretto’s building) has some nice stone work on the front now.

    Overall, the building seems to be progressing quite slowly. I wonder how long it will be before it is open.

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