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JOEY Restaurant Group Donates $160,000 to George Brown College

November 1, 2017

JOEY Restaurant Group & George Brown Announcement

JOEY Restaurant Group is proud to announce a $160,000 donation to George Brown College’s Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts (CHCA). The donation will go towards program and facility enhancements, supporting the CHCA expansion at 300 Adelaide Street East. The gift will be provided to CHCA over four years, along with new hands-on learning opportunities for culinary and hospitality students.

Since opening the first Toronto location of JOEY Restaurants at Don Mills in 2009, George Brown College students and alumni have been an integral part of the growth and success of the restaurants. From 2013 onward, JOEY Restaurant Group has enabled George Brown students enrolled in programs at CHCA to enter the restaurant sector through scholarships, paid externships and employment opportunities. Currently, over 100 George Brown College students and alumni are employed by JOEY Restaurant Group.

“The expansion of our relationship with George Brown allows this partnership to grow. We are working together to provide greater opportunities for students to develop,” says Rupert Martin, Vice President Eastern Culinary Operations, JOEY Restaurant Group. “We are thrilled to partner with George Brown faculty and staff, as they truly believe in teaching their students those important, hands-on skills that we find most valuable in the staff we hire.”

“Real-world examples of life in the industry are vital for our students,” says Lorraine Trotter, Dean, Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts. “Career information sessions and restaurant tours provided by JOEY Restaurants enable our students to understand how their education directly relates to their intended careers and the kind of commitment that is necessary. The opportunity to ask questions directly to those working in the field is important for our students’ growth and success. We are very grateful to JOEY Restaurants for their continued engagement and support.”

JOEY Restaurant Group looks forward to the continued development of George Brown’s culinary arts and hospitality students as well as the hiring opportunities afforded by the partnership and growth of the JOEY Restaurants and LOCAL Public Eatery brands.

JOEY Rideau Opens June 8th at 3PM

June 1, 2017

JOEY Rideau for blog

JOEY Rideau is opening June 8th at 3PM, just in time for the Capital City’s celebrations. This will be a momentous site in the organization’s history, as it is a landmark site for not only Ottawa but JOEY will also celebrate their 25th anniversary with its opening.

“We couldn’t be more excited to kick off the celebration season,” said Cheryl Conn, Regional Manager for Ottawa, “JOEY Rideau’s patio will emulate a traditional bistro seen on the old streets of Ottawa, complete with café style seating and string lights – perfect for this momentous Canadian summer.”

JOEY Rideau theatre kitchen

The open concept will include a cozy waiting area, dining room, lounge with central bar, and seating focused around a theatre kitchen. A sushi bar at the kitchen ledge and chef’s dining seating in front of the kitchen will offer a new way to be a part of the experience like never before.

The culinary team, led by Executive Chef Chris Mills, continuously explores new flavours, techniques and dishes. Whether the inspiration comes from just around the corner or a continent away Chef Mills believes in offering innovative dishes that are sure to surprise.     

Paralleling the experiential, theatre kitchen will be a custom designed wine cellar, made in collaboration with JOEY Sommelier Jason Yamasaki.

Inside JOEY Rideau 

A grand double-height glass vestibule at the entry will be flanked by a rare metal screen by the illustrious mid-century fashion designer, Paco Rabanne. Known for his use of unconventional materials in his haute couture designs, Rabanne, designed this masterpiece out of one-thousand five hundred and sixty two gold pieces joined together by thousands of links to create the same details seen in his iconic dresses. The shimmering tapestry resembles the effect of sunlight on the surface of water. 

Pitt plays with light and shadow further through JOEY Rideau, illuminating additional focal points in the dining room with a custom-designed metal fanned feature wall. It includes 4 panels spanning 28 feet, with the use of over two thousand aluminum bars in varying textures, lengths and widths. “Almost like organized chaos to create dimension and capture light,” said Pitt.

“JOEY Rideau is the pinnacle of JOEY design today; cohesion meets individuality. We have really defined the JOEY brand aesthetic over the last few years and guests can expect to see that refined-industrial, yet timeless look we have become known for. There is a fine balance between the strong brand elements that define us while still incorporating new materials and architectural features unique to this location,” said Pitt.

This location is a true reflection of how far JOEY has come over the last 25 years and is a nod to what the future of JOEY looks like.

Be the first to experience JOEY Rideau on June 8th at 3PM.

JOEY Chinook Receives Full Renovation Ahead of Organization’s 25th Anniversary

May 11, 2017


JOEY Chinook reopens its doors May 18 at 3PM after undergoing a renovation that will revamp the entire space. The new look features a refined, industrial yet timeless aesthetic with a focus on opening up the space, just in time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of JOEY Restaurant Group.

JOEY has a long-standing history in Calgary, with Jeff Fuller, CEO of JOEY Restaurants, opening the original JOEY Tomato’s Italian Kitchen in 1992, known for it’s pizza, pasta and tomatoes hanging off the ceiling. In December of that year, JOEY Eau Claire opened. Not only did it aid in revitalizing downtown Calgary but the location injected the brand with a vibrancy. Demand for new locations across Canada and the United States soon came. Jeff Fuller and Al Jessa knew that changes needed to come if they wanted to compete in the North American competitive market. In 1999, Executive Chef Chris Mills joined the company and redesigned the menu, fresh from his appearance on Iron Chef Japan.

With the success of the first location, JOEY evolved from Italian dining to the globally inspired concept that it is known for today. Much has changed since those early days and now, in 2017, JOEY has:

- 26 locations, across Canada and Western USA including Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and the Seattle and Los Angeles area

-  4,000+ employees

-  13 years’ average management tenure

-  52% of management team are women

-  Named one of Canada’s Best Employers by Forbes Magazine for the past two years, Canada’s Best Workplace for Women, and Top 100 Workplace for Young People

-  Received Best Work Places in Canada 8 years in a row, Top 100 Workplaces for Young People, the ICF International Prism Award and the TELUS Business Community Champion Award

Even with all the growth there remains a commitment to the communities who supported JOEY in those early days. This can be seen in Calgary where JOEY:

 - partners with local companies like Christiaan + Planck, a Calgary based custom lighting designer and fabricator and Cargill High River, Alberta who bring quality Canadian beef to the JOEY menu

 - assists local Calgary-based charities and organizations to feed the hungry through Cup of Care and Scoop of Care including; the Ronald McDonald House® Southern Alberta, Between Friends, Inn from the Cold, KidSport Calgary and the YWCA of Calgary

 - supports SAIT by providing ongoing education about the industry, hosting culinary demonstrations, hosting an annual 5 course dinner for the SAIT instructors as a thank you for the education they provide, and having senior representatives like Al Jessa, President and Casey Miles CCC, VP of Culinary Operations being key note speakers at the SAIT hospitality fair

 - provides SAIT with an annual $10,000 bursary to help fund their culinary program, with a portion going to a student in the form of a scholarship

“We don’t believe in growing for the sake of growing, we want to ensure that we pick the right new locations and that our current locations are thriving. It’s about relevancy over growth,” said Al Jessa, President of JOEY Restaurant Group, “We are putting the same focus in redeveloping existing locations that no longer feel relevant for our guests.”

JOEY Chinook is no exception. Noticeable before even stepping foot in JOEY Chinook is the soaring glass windows that have been expanded on the front side of the building, allowing natural light to flow through the interior.

Integral to the renovation is removing the existing interior wall between the dining room and lounge to create an open concept focused around a central bar. Heavy timber beams suspended above the bar will provide a warm juxtaposition to the elegant bronze bar panels and white quartzite bartop below.

JOEY designer, Jenna McBride, continues the use of natural materials throughout the space by creating two custom walls flanking either side of the restaurant, commissioned exclusively for this location.

Craftsmanship is showcased on the dining room wall with custom white washed oak planks installed in an intricate pattern. A blackened steel clad fireplace centered in the room amidst all new seating creating a cozy atmosphere. Elegant, handmade chandeliers illuminate and complete the space, fabricated by Calgary’s own Christiaan & Planck.

Playing with light and shadow, the back wall of the lounge adds dramatic textures to the room with a reclaimed 3D brick façade complimented with hemlock timber columns. The lounge will also offer a selection of seating including a walnut live edge custom social table that plays to the natural elements throughout the redesign. In addition, a new custom wine wall provides focus on the handpicked wine selection featured at JOEY and was designed in collaboration with JOEY Sommelier Jason Yamasaki for maximizing the wine experience.

Key to the renovation is a collection of vintage and commissioned artwork throughout the space. From Canadian artist Miriam Aroeste’s abstract tryptic to a refurbished one of a kind neon fish sourced from Ocean City New Jersey the artwork provides a level of beauty and a pop of color to the room. A highlight of the space is a commissioned piece by renowned collage artist Jay Kelly. Kelly’s work is a labour of love as he hand tears and glues a variety of vintage magazines, novels & art history books to create his masterpieces.

Experience the new JOEY Chinook for yourself on May 18 at 3PM when it opens. 

JOEY Designer Receives North American-Wide Industry Recognition

May 5, 2017


We are proud to announce that JOEY Restaurant Group’s own Meghan Pitt has been chosen by VMSD to be part of the magazine’s 2017 Designer Dozen awards. The twelve individuals honoured are recognized as being the best and brightest young retail designers across North America with the talent, drive and innovation necessary to move this industry forward.


At JOEY, Meghan is responsible for our restaurant designs and has been behind such beautiful projects as JOEY Woodland Hills in Los Angeles and JOEY Sherway in Toronto. Meghan sat down with VMSD to chat about her experiences in the industry:

How and why did you get into retail design/visual merchandising?

 I’ve always been intrigued by design that  impacts public experiences. You create an environment that a diverse group of people interact with in many different ways, that’s amazing to think about.

 Restaurant design was always the end goal for me. I love being a part of a group of people at JOEY Restaurants that curate the dining experience for the guest. I grew up in a foodie family and some of my most memorable moments are with my family and friends around a table sharing food. A fantastic restaurant experience goes so far beyond what’s on your plate and there’s something really magical about being a part of that.  


JOEY Sherway, Toronto

Describe a signature design element in your work.

 The use of natural materials in authentic applications. Guests really connect with natural building materials, especially wood. They soften and warm up spaces making guests feel at home and comfortable. There tends to be a focus of utilizing a natural form of material in feature areas that attract animation from restaurant staff – bars, tasting tables, kitchen pass-throughs.

Describe a project that you were involved in. What about that project are you most proud of?

I am most proud of JOEY Woodland Hills, our first restaurant to open in California back in December 2015. Our design team had to overcome a huge learning curve; relating to a new climate,
new building code, and new consultant team, in a market where we were unknown. We had  to make an amazing first impression and we did!    


JOEY Woodland Hills, Los Angeles

Who or what has been the greatest influence on you in your work? 

 I think staying connected to the notion that design is a fluid process and there is no finish line. If you continue to allow yourself to be pushed (or push yourself), you will achieve a greater solution… but there is no one solution. An old colleague and mentor always reminded me to stay humble, push your ideas, fail fast, and move on.  

What do you enjoy most about your job?

 How diverse the process is. I love being highly conceptual at points and extremely focused  and detailed at others. I love knowing that there is so much more to know! There is no getting bored in design.

What’s the biggest challenge you face professionally? 

Finding a balance between the best design solution and the schedule and budget. I’m probably a rare breed of designer where I do have a strong left brain as well. I am very much interested in the practical management and execution of our projects. With that said, the challenge then becomes working within these constraints without allowing them to hinder the best design solutions.

If budget (and schedule) were no object, I’d….prototype everything, R&D like crazy. Custom, custom, custom!

Retail changes every day. What design trends have caught your eye recently?  

Mixed metals, lighter palettes, small curated vignettes.

What excites you most about retail design/visual merchandising?

Becoming ingrained in the brand you’re working with to understand every aspect of their business and how this translates into their physical built environments.

Look for more of Meghan’s designs as we get set to open JOEY Rideau this summer.

JOEY Woodland Hills - A custom mirrored back finish on the outdoor bar

 JOEY Woodland Hills, Los Angeles 


JOEY Recognized as One of the Top 20 Best Places to Work in Canada on Company`s 25th Anniversary

April 27, 2017

GPTW 2017

Today, JOEY was named one of the top 20 Best Places to Work in Canada by the Great Places To Work Institute. This will be the eighth consecutive year JOEY has been on the list.

JOEY has a long-standing history in Canada with Jeff Fuller, CEO of JOEY Restaurants, opening the original JOEY Tomato’s Italian Kitchen in 1992. It was known for it’s pizza, pasta and tomatoes hanging off the ceiling. Over the years, demand grew and the brand changed but one thing always remained at the forefront of the business; a focus on people development.

Now, in it’s 25th anniversary, JOEY:

- Employs over 3,000 individuals
- Has an average management tenure of 13 years
- Has 52% of management team are women

`This is a company that helps you grow and change as it grows and changes, that’s one of the big things that has made us successful,’ said Geoff Boyd, VP of Bar, who started with the company as a bartender. Boyd created his own future by pitching Fuller on the idea of owning and managing bar concepts. Back when he joined head office, he was the bar department, now he manages a team that thrives. “I like that what was just a one-man show has become an important part of our business, and I like that my job is now more about supporting and sustaining other people than thinking I need to do everything myself.

Since January 2017, JOEY was also recognized as one of:

- Canada’s Best Workplaces for Women
- Canada’s Top Employers for Young People
- Canada’s Best Workplaces for Part-Time Employees
- Forbes 2017 list of Canada’s Best Places to Work (appeared on the list as the top restaurant company in Canada)

 “It’s a career without a ceiling,” says Karen Johnston, newly appointed VP of Operations West. “We have mentors and coaches for anyone who wants to grow in any capacity. Johnston is another success story with the company, starting in 1999 out of JOEY Coquitlam as a server. “One of my favourite things Fuller has ever said was, ‘You make your own opportunities out of life.’ It’s always been true here at JOEY, and you have a team supporting you the whole way.”

JOEY contributes their ongoing success to their performance-driven teams who take pride in creating exceptional experiences and environments where people are inspired to grow, learn, and discover their full potential. To support their growth and ongoing people development JOEY has partnered with experts in the field to create a customized learning and development path for their partners called the JOEY Path to Mastery. Through the JOEY Path to Mastery, leaders in the organization are given the opportunity to embark on different paths in their career in four distinct areas — business, leadership, coaching, and culinary. The courses have been designed in partnership with Royal Roads University, Essential Impact and the Leader’s Circle. This educational experience opens up the world of leadership to their people and allows them to build a meaningful career in hospitality while also developing their own personal leadership style.

Culinary education and partner development is also a key focus for Executive Chef Chris Mills and the culinary team at JOEY Restaurants. As part of their ongoing development, JOEY kitchen partners take part in a three-year apprenticeship program where they build a solid foundation of culinary arts through weekly culinary clubs as well as black box and iron chef competitions, all while they are attending semesters at a local culinary school. The weekly culinary clubs provide partners with the opportunity to practise their skills in a comfortable learning environment which inspires them to create and execute on different menu items and cooking styles outside of their daily roles.

“Many people have pre-conceived notions about restaurant “jobs” and what a career looks like,” said Leah Whitworth, Regional Manager. “There’s a whole world of opportunity that exists depending on your interests and skill set. JOEY takes developing people seriously and your performance of sales, people and growth profit directly reflects returns in your pocket.”

JOEY Announces First North Shore Location in the Heart of Lower Lonsdale

April 26, 2017


JOEY Restaurant Group is opening its first North Shore location, at the new Shipyards development in the heart of Lower Lonsdale. With panoramic, sweeping views of the city, JOEY Shipyards features design innovation, specifically envisioned for this remarkable site.

 Directly on the waterfront, JOEY Shipyards will feature two patios, ideal for long summer nights with unobstructed views of downtown Vancouver. Eye-catching custom-built chandeliers will connect the first and second floors and reflect the scale and drama of the North Shore mountains. Open sightlines throughout the restaurant will maximize and emphasize the view out to the water and the city across. The theatre kitchen and central bar will create an ambiance on par with the skyline.

 “We are excited to welcome JOEY Restaurant to The Shipyards community” said City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto. “The addition of JOEY Shipyards and its unique dining experience is perfectly suited to the locale and will contribute to the City’s delivery of a unique, interactive and vibrant year-round people place at the waterfront.”

 “This is an extremely special location for us as an organization and for me personally,” said Jeff Fuller, CEO of JOEY Restaurant Group. “We’ve been looking for the perfect location in the Lower Mainland and we are so happy to be a part of the North Vancouver community.”

 The restaurant will have a strong connection to the new public plaza being developed as part of this project, creating a welcoming place for the community to gather and enjoy the one-of-a-kind sweeping views.

 “At JOEY, we create unique experiences that invite our guests into our business at a deeper level,” said Chris Mills, Executive Chef of JOEY Restaurants, “JOEY Shipyards is no exception. The theatre kitchen will be showcased from the outside through a long, horizontal window and will be the focus of the entry experience. You can see our chefs in action at all times.”

 Creating a space that guests can enjoy year-round, a lush terrace will feature a sliding glass wall to open the interior to the patio on the lower level. This remarkable balance between form and function will create a unique flow from the garden terrace to the interior.

 “The vision Jeff Fuller and his team at JOEY Restaurants have for this location is very exciting, and we are fortunate to have this well-established local brand anchor the development,” says Gary Mathiesen, President & CEO of Quay Property Management Corp., the company developing The Shipyards – Lot 5 project. “JOEY Shipyards will be a great addition to the business community in Lower Lonsdale, and is a key component in making The Shipyards development truly unlike anything else in the region.”

 JOEY Shipyards will have nods to the North Shore from architectural design to final touches, with a curated collection of artwork by local North Vancouver artists.

 “I have deep roots on the North Shore and am a resident of the community,” said Fuller. “We are committed to becoming central members of North Vancouver through this unique location and our ongoing community involvement. We will represent the North Shore with pride.”

 JOEY Shipyards is set to open in 2018.