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'It's bittersweet': Popular St. Boniface restaurant set to close its doors


Marion Street Eatery is set to close its doors for good after over a decade serving up steaming plates of eggs benedict, grilled cheese and brisket hash.

The St. Boniface restaurant, long considered a staple in the community, announced Sunday it will close at the end of May.

“It's bittersweet in many, many ways,” Laneil Smith, owner and operator of Marion Street Eatery, told CTV News Winnipeg.

“We're very proud of what we've done in the time that we've been here.”

While she says the industry has become difficult to navigate, Smith says there is no one reason behind the closure. She never planned on running the eatery forever when she opened its doors in February 2014 at the Marion Hotel – a property her family has owned for decades.

“It's more just that we're ready for change,” Smith said.

“We are happy with how we've been able to dedicate to our community. We've built up a beautiful community of people and made plenty of friends and been able to support a lot of very beautiful, smaller, local distributors within the city.”

The Marion Street Eatery dining room is shown in a December 2018 image. (Marion Street Eatery/Instagram)

Restaurant industry still recovering from pandemic: restaurant association

Shaun Jeffrey, CEO of Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association (MRFA), says Marion Street Eatery’s closure is a loss.

“It's never good in our industry to lose such a staple, especially a staple like Marion Street. On a personal level, it’s one of my favourite restaurants in Winnipeg to visit both for breakfast and lunch.”

Jeffrey hopes another restaurant will open in its wake, but he acknowledges operating a business amid inflationary pressures and prolonged fallout from the pandemic can be challenging.

He says Canadian restaurants generally have a two to one closure ratio. Meantime, data from Restaurants Canada found restaurant bankruptcies in January were up to 44 per cent – the highest annual figure in a decade.

“We're facing some pretty monumental challenges in our industry. I wouldn't say that we're seeing a lot of restaurants closing, but we're definitely seeing a lot of restaurants change hands, just because [of] the trying times coming out of the pandemic,” he said, adding Manitoba is still at about a 75 per cent post-pandemic recovery rate.

(Marion Street Eatery/Instagram)

As for Smith, she has seen the industry evolve in her decade-long tenure at Marion Street Eatery. Customers’ food knowledge has grown, with diners keen to support small and local.

While she will miss their loyal customers, she says they have many other amazing local restaurants to welcome them.

“Winnipeg’s food scene is a pivotal part of our communities. I think it's a pivotal part of our relationships, how we’re gathering, how we come together as people, and I think that that's a beautiful thing to be able to be a part of.” Top Stories

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