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Canadian franchise remodels and opens in White Castle’s old location

Posted on 27 June 2017 by calvin

Tim Hortons serves breakfast and lunch, as well as coffee shop fare of pastry and muffins

By JAN WILLMS
It has been about three months since the Canadian-based Tim Hortons opened its doors at 3600 Lake St. The restaurant took over the building that had been occupied by White Castle for many years.

“The transition was seamless,” said Paul Durigon, chief executive officer of Restaurant Development Partners from his office in Canada. “We closed on the sale and started renovating immediately.”

“We demolished the interior and refurbished the exterior of the building,” he noted.

Tim Hortons 3Photo right: Tim Hortons opened its doors at 3600 Lake St, on the spot that had been occupied by White Castle for over 60 years. (Photo by Jan Willms)

The cheerful coffee shop and restaurant is open seven days a week, from 6am until 10pm.

“We want to emphasize that the store is so much more than just coffee and donuts,” Durigon said. “We serve breakfasts and lunches, with a daily homemade soup. We bake our bread every day, and everything is freshly made.”

He said Tim Hortons offers cappuccinos, lattes, and espressos that are as good as any on the market, as well as a broad range of food. Teas, hot chocolate, frozen lemonade, and fruit smoothies are also part of the liquid items offered. The menu is rounded out with paninis, sandwiches, and wrap offerings, chili, mac and cheese, and a soup of the day. Top it off with Cold Stone Creamery ice cream.

The store is named after its founder, hockey great Tim Horton, who was a Canadian professional ice hockey player, a defenseman for 24 seasons in the National Hockey League. He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Buffalo Sabres.

Horton’s death in a car accident in 1974 came ten years after he opened his first restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario, with partner Ron Joyce. He was still playing hockey at age 44 with the Buffalo Sabres while being an entrepreneur. At the time of his death, there were 50 Tim Hortons in Canada. Today, according to Durigon, there are over 4500 worldwide.

Tim Hortons 1Photo left: Muriel is enjoying coffee at the Tim Hortons on Lake St. (Photo by Jan Willms)

“We currently have 800 open in the United States, mostly in the eastern seaboard states,” he continued. “We hope to have 17 open in Minnesota by the end of the year.” There are already Tim Hortons in the Mall of America, Dinkytown, Brainerd, International Falls and Brooklyn Park. Another is opening in Savage.

A unique aspect of Tim Hortons is the Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation. This foundation was started by Joyce after Horton’s death in 1974 to honor his memory and keep alive his love for helping those less fortunate. The Foundation has several camps across the United States and Canada that are designed to provide an enriching and memorable camp experience for children and youth living in economically disadvantaged homes.

The restaurant is also dedicated to providing nutritional as well as tasty food items to its customers and strives to be an environmental steward by reducing waste, recycling, reducing litter and focusing on green building design.

Durigon said that each store employs about 25 people.

Besides sending kids to camp, Tim Hortons is initiating a cookie program. “If you buy a cookie, we will donate the proceeds to a charity in the area,” he explained.

Tim Hortons 5Photo right: Chris Smith, one of the employees at Tim Hortons on Lake St., is ready to take your order for breakfast, lunch, coffee, donut, or any of the wide-ranging menu items that they offer. (Photo by Jan Willms)

Durigon said the restaurant wants very much to be a part of the community it serves. “We want to be involved in area sports, such as hockey, baseball, and soccer,” he stated.

Durigon said the restaurant wants very much to be a part of the community it serves. “We want to be involved in area sports, such as hockey, baseball, and soccer,” he stated.

“Probably our greatest challenge has been getting our name out there, with limited marketing,” Durigon continued. “And letting people know that we are so much more than a coffee shop, with the breakfasts and lunches we offer.”

The prices are reasonable, with a coffee and a frosted donut with sprinkles for as little as $2.

Durigon said he is not sure if Tim Hortons has gotten all the old White Castle crowd, but the store’s experience in Minnesota has been great so far, with the Canadian-based company getting a warm welcome.

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