Dave MacLean: Telegraph-Journal

November 13th, 2007, page C1

New eatery will open early next year

Restaurant Montana's Cookhouse Saloon latest addition to
growing East Side retail development

Developer Troy Northrup with an artist’s drawing of how the new Montana's Cookhouse Saloon will look when completed on Depot Drive.

SAINT JOHN - The Wild West will meet the booming East Side when Montana's Cookhouse Saloon brings its popular restaurant chain to Saint John early next year.

East Point Shopping developer Troy Northrup confirmed Montana's is the latest addition to his burgeoning retail development, which already includes a number of clothing retailers, a hotel, coffee shop and hardware retailer.

"We're very excited," Northrup said. "I think it's going to add a lot to the atmosphere of East Point. It's one more piece to the bigger puzzle and it certainly adds an entertainment selection along with the hotel (Hampton Inn & Suites), which is going to open at the end of November. It's all part of building a destination that is a full-service centre."

The restaurant is currently under construction on Depot Drive, across from the Home Depot and the Starbucks outlet that is also under construction and scheduled to be open before Christmas.

Northrup said the restaurant will help add to the East Point experience and will help attract customers for the hotel and for the retail shops.

"Building a successful centre and creating that unique atmosphere is not any one piece," he said. "It's the sum of all the pieces put together that make up the total experience and this is just one more piece."

It will be a 6,000-square-foot restaurant with seating for 50 on the patio, 50 in the bar and 141 in the dining room. Northrup said the patio will overlook the East Side and will include side walls that will enable diners to weather the elements earlier in the year and later into the fall. Northrup expects Montana's will be open in late January or early February.

Saint John MP Paul Zed says it's more great news for the city and he praised Northrup for his work on the development and his recruitment efforts toward landing major tenants.

"Single-handedly, Troy Northrup has done more for tourism, for retail development and economic development than any other economic initiative in the last 10 years," said Zed. "Saint John is becoming a retail destination, and this announcement adds yet another in a large line of premium, high-end attractions to our community. It's sending a positive signal about what's happening in Saint John.

"The thing that's really important for us to understand as a community is that we need to get the development right. That's one of the things Troy Northrup has sold to everybody in the community. He is committed to roads, to water, to infrastructure and storm management. He's doing it in a balanced way and the approach is right. It's clear that national and international retailers are recognizing the hard work that's gone into this project."

Mayor Norm McFarlane echoed Zed's comments. He said he has traveled with Northrup on occasion to help pitch the city as an exciting place to do business and he's impressed with the results thus far.

"It's becoming our premier location for shopping and it's improved the level of our shopping experience," said McFarlane.

"I've been with Troy when we visited Montana's and we actually ate at the Montana's in Toronto. Troy has worked very hard on it and he deserves a lot of credit for starting East Point and a lot of credit for each new business that moves there and Montana's is going to be a great restaurant for Saint John - very family-oriented. All the credit goes to Troy and the vision he has for the city."