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Harmony Lunch
#1
The new Harmony Lunch (now owned by Nick & Nat) is opening this Saturday!

[Image: 20292754_10159007857425403_2870594501374...e=59F615A0]

https://www.facebook.com/harmonylunch/
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#2
Some highlights: now serving 8 beers on tap (plus other drinks I'm sure), staying open later to make it more of a bar/night place, new food options plus the classic burgers.
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#3
New owner is shuttering the place

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_f...2&sfnsn=mo
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#4
Longer statement here: https://andrewcoppolino.com/waterloo/tha...d-so-long/
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#5
I see they're already blaming the LRT  Rolleyes
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#6
(01-14-2020, 09:08 PM)Bob_McBob Wrote: I see they're already blaming the LRT  Rolleyes

That’s more than a bit of a stretch. They say it re-opened in 2017; in other words, after the LRT was done. It is true that King St. in that area was re-built, but the section near them was completed last year, in 2019. I believe there is another layer of asphalt to go on but that is all — maybe a 2-day closure. It is also true that King St. further north will be closing (this year? I’m not up to date on the planned schedule) for re-construction, but it’s hard to believe that a closure several blocks away will have a significant effect on Uptown.

In short, I’m not buying that LRT and road construction have anything to do with the closure.
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#7
Sadly, I think the relaunched Harmony Lunch was sort of damned from the start. The old Harmony had too long of a history and following in KW and I don't think it mattered what Fat Sparrow did, people weren't going to be happy. So many complaints that it wasn't the same burgers (which they weren't allowed to have the recipe for), that they changed the restaurant too much or that they didn't change it enough. I think the nostalgia for the original was too much to overcome. At the same time, I can only imagine what the uproar would have been if they had dared to open a completely different restaurant, new name and all.
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#8
That's pretty lame, and citing that as the "insurmountable" challenge that led to the restaurant's failure says a lot about the owners.

I used to go to Harmony about a half a dozen times per year before it was sold. I did try it once since then, and it's true that I haven't been back. But it wasn't the investments in the Uptown streetscape that kept me away: I go Uptown often enough for other reasons, including to dine at other restaurants.
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#9
(01-14-2020, 09:21 PM)BruceAshe Wrote: So many complaints that it wasn't the same burgers (which they weren't allowed to have the recipe for)

I always found that whole situation very bizarre. They bought a restaurant with a signature dish, but the former owners refused to share the recipe with them, even going as far as trying to make an arrangement where they would deliver the ground meat but not divulge the exact ingredients. So they came up with their own version, then a year later the former owners started selling the original version through Stemmler's.
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#10
(01-14-2020, 09:41 PM)Bob_McBob Wrote:
(01-14-2020, 09:21 PM)BruceAshe Wrote: So many complaints that it wasn't the same burgers (which they weren't allowed to have the recipe for)

I always found that whole situation very bizarre. They bought a restaurant with a signature dish, but the former owners refused to share the recipe with them, even going as far as trying to make an arrangement where they would deliver the ground meat but not divulge the exact ingredients. So they came up with their own version, then a year later the former owners started selling the original version through Stemmler's.

Something always seemed really off to me about this. Maybe the deal with Stemmler's pre-dated the selling of the restaurant?  I'll give Nick Benninger and Fat Sparrow credit for trying to keep the place going and maybe they thought the reputation of Uptown 21 and Taco Farm would give them a fighting chance, but I personally wouldn't have tried it without the original burger recipe, at least not under the same name.
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#11
Stemmler's was manufacturing the burger blend for Harmony Lunch for 8 years before the original closure, so they had a pre-existing relationship with the Marks family. It was even being sold as "Original Harmony Lunch Burger" which kind of dilutes the Harmony Lunch brand. You would think the trademark would be included in the sale of business assets.

https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/a-taste-of-...-1.4170938
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#12
(01-14-2020, 09:08 PM)Bob_McBob Wrote: I see they're already blaming the LRT  Rolleyes

Which is strange since the LRT crosses King right in front of Beertown. Harmony Lunch is way up on King.

The King Street re-work hurting them? Sure, I'll buy that.

What I think really hurt them was expectations. They wanted a way to print money, and that didn't happen.
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#13
Fat Sparrow owns several restaurants uptown (and elsewhere). They're very active in the local community and participate in tons of food and cultural events. They're good people who are invested in building our community. If they say that the construction impacted this restaurant more than Nick and Nat's and Marbles, I'm strongly inclined to believe them. They really don't seem to be assholes who are just dipping in to exploit a brand. Restaurants are really hard, and they did their best to reinvent and update a local institution to keep it alive.
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#14
This land is owned by HIP Developments, so I am assuming that the main reason for the closure is to redevelop the site. Fat Sparrow likely had 2 year lease/agreement with HIP and they just didn't renew it? Also Uptown 21 is now closed for good (brown bag fridays just finished a few weeks ago), and that building is wholly owned by the Benningers themselves so I bet they are planning a new restaurant there that will incorporate some of Harmony's favourites.
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#15
(01-15-2020, 10:24 AM)robdrimmie Wrote: Fat Sparrow owns several restaurants uptown (and elsewhere). They're very active in the local community and participate in tons of food and cultural events.  They're good people who are invested in building our community. If they say that the construction impacted this restaurant more than Nick and Nat's and Marbles, I'm strongly inclined to believe them. They really don't seem to be assholes who are just dipping in to exploit a brand. Restaurants are really hard, and they did their best to reinvent and update a local institution to keep it alive.

There often didn't seem to be that many people in the new Harmony Lunch at dinnertime (well...) and the streetscape construction more than LRT would have affected them in a way that hasn't been an issue for Taco Farm. (Taco Farm also used to be quite good but not as much recently).
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