The building, now known for The Hungry Pug, has a long history of being home to some of Kenora’s favourite restaurants throughout time.
According to history provided by the Patsiatzis family (current building owners), the building has been home to W.L. Birden Meat Market, King Cash Grocery, Williams Tobacco Shop, Bryce’s Bakery, W.S. Irish Confectionary, McInnes Confectionary, The Salisbury House, Bizzi Bee, Borelli’s, The Pier, and of course, The Hungry Pug.
The first business to call the 301 Second Street South home was W.L. Birden Meat Market. Not much is known about this business, just that it would have operated pre-1890 and was owned by W.L. Birden.
Ernest Appleton opened a branch of A. McDonald Wholesale Grocery in 1890 after recently moving to Rat Portage. By 1897, he had changed the business to King Cash Grocery, which he organized and ran with John Partington.
In 1909, the building changed hands to W.S. Irish who opened W.S. Irish Confectionary. The business sold cigars, confectionery, and stationery. They served refreshments and lunches, and in the summer, the business was also an ice cream parlour that had a soda fountain.
From 1916 to 1922, Dan McInnes operated the confectionery. By 1922, he had established a dairy business.
Around 1923, Richard Hingston Elliott came to town from Winnipeg to operate a bakery for Bryce, he eventually went on to purchase the bakery from Bryce.
The Salisbury House restaurant was established sometime prior to 1957, it was a town favourite. Many locals, to this day, will share fond memories of their memories of the place. The original Salisbury House was opened by Ralph Martin Erwin in Winnipeg around 1931. Erwin created the restaurant to serve the new, trendy, American invention, the hamburger, although Erwin found the term to be inelegant so he called his creations “nips”. Erwin opened Salisbury House restaurants in Brandon, Flin Flon, Kenora, Moose Jaw, Calgary, and Minneapolis.
The Patsiatzis family started the Bizzi Bee in 1981 after purchasing the Salisbury House. They ran the family restaurant for 25 years while also raising their three children. The restaurant not only served food but also housed birthday parties, Christmas’, and endless memories.
In more recent history, 301 Second Street South was home to The Pier and Borelli’s, two shorter-lived but still well-loved restaurants. Borelli’s was operated by the Borelli family, an Italian family that moved to Kenora and gave us the best cannoli northwestern Ontario has ever seen.
And finally, the building served as the home of The Hungry Pug, a unique breakfast place operated by some of the kindest people. Carl Hensrud opened The Hungry Pug in March of 2019, the restaurant prided itself on serving healthy, globally-inspired, breakfast food with options for those who were vegan and or needed gluten-free options.
During the height of the pandemic, The Hungry Pug opened its kitchen to Kenora’s only authentic Indian restaurant, Kurry. By doing this, it helped Jazz Virdi, owner of Kurry, get on his feet and establish his business in his own location.
And that is where the history of 301 Second Street South stops. Hopefully, with the community's support, a new building can be created so that the residents and businesses can once again call this spot home.