Opening amidst construction


Some may say it's counter-intuitive to start a new business in the middle of a construction zone at the height of construction.

But for Brian Noel, owner of the soon to open Shorty's Pizza and Smoked Meats at 1015 Tower Avenue, expected to open in June, the timing was right.

After all, the Canadian businessman has been planning and testing the menu for the new restaurant and bar over the last four years.

And after finding the perfect building where he could easily imagine where all the elements of the restaurant should be, it isn't about what's going to happen this summer.

"I'm in it for the long-haul," Noel said. "I know whatever I do this year, I would have done more."

After all, Noel is not a novice when it comes to the impact road construction can have on a business after his family's sporting goods store survived two construction seasons in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Tower Avenue is only expected to be under construction for one year.

One of the building's features, a 50-car parking lot immediately north of Shorty's Pizza and Smoked Meats provides customers with access to the new business' side entrance as well as a place to park just adjacent to one of the cross streets expected to remain open throughout the project -- Broadway Street -- on the west side of Tower Avenue.

"I've been working on this project for a long time," Noel said of the bar and restaurant that will open in the remodeled space most recently known as Lord Stanley's. "The food will be -- about 98 percent of it -- will be made from scratch. It's going to be a pretty extensive menu. It's not going to be bar food; it's going to be restaurant food."

But the restaurant fare will be a little different than a typical American restaurant.

"I'm originally from Canada, Ottawa, so I brought some of that influence into it," Noel said. He said the menu will feature some his favorite foods from Canada, and his hometown of water, including a Canadian-style pizza -- a typical pie features a 12-inch crust with ¾ pounds of cheese with homemade sauce.

"The pizza will be made in the open so when the people come in they will see the people cooking it," Noel said. "It's not a new concept, but that's what we'll be doing."

In Quebec, smoked meat is like a hamburger, Noel said.

"It's in the same family as corned beef or pastrami, but it has its own distinct taste," Noel said. He said curing the meat is a seven-day process, but the menu is specifically, designed so items on the menu can be cooked in just 8½ minutes.

Noel said as he was talking to people about the project, he learned that sometimes it just takes too long for people to be served, especially when they're just trying to get lunch during an otherwise busy schedule.

His goal is to solve that problem with foods that can be prepared relatively quickly.

In addition to Canadian fare, he said the restaurant will serve staple items -- like burgers, sandwiches wings and some entrees, and with a daughter who graduated from culinary school in baking, he said there will be an array of desserts to choose from.

While the restaurant also features a bar, the restaurant will be on one side of the building, opposite the bar, and feature a family-friendly atmosphere.