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JOEY Restaurants Opening at Historic Rideau Building

February 21, 2017

JOEY Rideau for blog

JOEY Restaurant Group announces next company-wide location will be the Rideau Centre, opening late spring of 2017. 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 were excited about this historic site and being part of downtown Ottawa. It was important that this location embodied the JOEY brand, but was also cohesive with the historic exterior elements of the building,” Meghan Pitt, Designer for JOEY Rideau, “We worked with the city to ensure our patio paid homage to the city’s history while also being unique to us.”

As such interior architectural elements throughout will align with the building’s history, while JOEY Rideau’s patio will emulate a traditional bistro seen on the old streets of Ottawa, complete with café style seating and string lights.

The open concept will include a cozy waiting area, dining room, lounge with central bar, and seating focused around a theatre kitchen. Building on offering world-class hospitality, a custom live edge tasting station near the entrance ensures there`s ample room for guests to wait. 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 walk-in wine room, custom designed in collaboration with JOEY Sommelier Jason Yamasaki. 

“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 will look like.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

December 24, 2016

Happy Holiday

Thank you to everyone who entered our seven days of giveaways.

We had a lot of fun sharing tips and hearing all your thoughtful stories and answers.

Wishing you all a very wonderful holiday season!



December 23, 2016


A Private Event Experience

Jeff Fuller, Owner and CEO of JOEY Restaurants


It’s the season of celebrations. Whether you’re busy traveling to company parties and family dinners or are playing the ultimate host at your own event – this time of year can be hectic. That’s why we want to treat you to a carefree event of your own in 2017, because let’s admit it – you deserve it! All you need to do is pick the day. Stress free for you, and impressive for your guests. Our grand prize (valued at $2,000) is:


event pic 1 A Private Event at JOEY for 10:

Do you have a special anniversary, birthday party or engagement you want to celebrate in 2017? We want to help. Our private event spaces offer an inviting ambiance with warm accents. This prize consists of a private booking at JOEY for 10 guests including a champagne toast, a four course dinner with award-winning wine pairings and a signature handcrafted cocktail station. All you need to do is let us know the location you wish to join us at and the day you want to celebrate and we will do the rest! Our event teams are ready to create the perfect experience for you.

event pic 2

To enter: Follow @JOEYRestaurants on Instagram. In the comment section for today’s Instagram Private Event Giveaway tell us what event you want to celebrate and who you want to celebrate with. Contest closes at 9:30am PST on December 24, 2016. Winner will be selected at random and announced on the Instagram Private Event Giveaway post at 10:00am PST on December 24, 2016. 


Up Your Party Game This Season!

December 22, 2016

ChaffeAs the Events Development Manager for JOEY Restaurants I plan a lot of parties! Jeff Fuller, the owner of JOEY, and I like to ensure all guests celebrating feel special, whether they are hosting a party in one of our private event spaces or we are hosting a launch party for a new location. It’s easy to make guests feel special when you have a dedicated hospitality team behind you, but how do you accomplish that same experience at home? Home get-togethers are a great way to get all your friends together over the holiday season but between preparing food and mixing drinks for your guests, how are you going to have any fun of your own? Here are some tips to help make your party a big success.

- Elysse Chaffe, JOEY Events Development Manager

JOEY Burnaby Events


1. The Party Starts When Your Guests Walk In

Greeting your guests at the door with a beverage will make them feel as if they are attending a polished affair.  The best part is that it’s much easier than the alternative of inviting them to sit down and asking them what they would like.  Having pre-poured beverages will allow your guests to get right to mingling and give you some extra time to put your feet up.  Prosecco or champagne are general crowd pleasers and tend to work best — they take only a few seconds to pour and will look great on a silver platter while waiting for more guests to arrive. Create a little station near the entrance so you have everything you need at the door and don’t need to run back and forth to the kitchen.


2. Prepare a Coat and Shoe Area

Often overlooked, your guests will be fighting the rain and snow on their way over to your place and will likely have some extra weather protection such as big boots, umbrellas and big wet coats. Ensuring you have a well setup coat area will help elevate bottle necking at the doorway and ensure your home stays tidy.

3. Serve Both Hot and Cold

Great hors d’oeuvre will keep your guests delighted and snacking all evening, but if you go for dishes to elaborate you will be spending most of the evening cooking and serving meals. Mixing in some timeless cold canapés will give you more time to focus on the more tricky dishes, and then more time to catch up with your guests.

_MG_1074Meat and cheese platterStation 2

4. Create Stations

The last thing you want at a party is people crowding around the kitchen or doorway waiting for food or drinks to come. It creates clutter for you trying to host and changes the dynamics of the party completely. Before you send out your invites take a look at your space. Think about where a drink station and a canape station could work. Disperse them around the space. This will create areas for people to flow to and from and ensure that people mingle and hang out in the main area of your party. A good tip is to look for corners or edges around your main mingling space.


5. Make Your Stations Interactive

I love to make my stations interactive. This helps in entertaining your guests. Think about it, you can’t talk to everyone all at once so by creating some playful elements at the party guests will feel like they are truly being hosted and the pressure will be taken off you! When I say interactive, think touch, taste, smell and sight.

JOEY Burrard's station

In our business we always like to remember people eat (and drink) with their eyes as much as they do with their palate. By creating stations where people can build their own drinks or canapes there is an element of playfulness and you won’t have to be crafting drinks all night! A great station for this is mimosas. You can leave the bubbles out and have crafts of different fresh juices for people to make their own. When building stations we like to incorporate the theme of the party or ingredients that go into the dishes or drinks. For instance, if you were serving mimosas at a holiday party, you could incorporate some pine tree branches along the table or showcase fresh pressed juice by having fresh oranges out, some partially cut to create fragrance. You also want to create levels so your station looks dynamic and can be seen from across the room.

Prosecco station 2Prosecco station

These stations also make for great photo opps for your guests!

That’s it! It’s as easy as that. If you incorporate these five tips into your next event I promise you, you will have more time to enjoy your guests’ company! Happy celebrating, everyone!




Happy Hour for All

Al Jessa, JOEY Restaurants President


This time of year it’s easy to get caught up on wrap reports, final projects and ensuring you are set up to take some holiday time. It’s important to remember the people who are beside you throughout the year making your success possible; your colleagues. Corporate culture is dear to my heart. At JOEY we encourage our teams to take time out to enjoy themselves and celebrate their accomplishments whether it’s a brewery tour, a cooking class or a competitive game of flag football. Remember it’s important to have a few laughs and recap your accomplishments with your team and so this Team Building Prize Pack (valued at $380) includes:


FEED apronFEED Denim Apron

I picked this apron for a couple reasons; it’s important to support the people in our organization and the communities we operate in.

When I saw this apron I was reminded of my own story as a restauranteur. I began working for the Fuller family in 1991 as a dishwasher. In 1996, I became the Executive Chef of JOEY with a CCC designation (Certified Chef de Cuisine). Now, I am honoured to be the president. People development is important to me. I want to provide our people with every opportunity to grow and be successful. Our apprenticeship programs, university partnerships and the JEIT are part of this and foster an entrepreneurial spirit in our people, while rewarding them for their efforts.

Secondly, the proceeds from each FEED apron purchased goes to feed 14 meals for children and families in America. Now that is something I can get behind. In 2009, we created the Cup of Care program, which to date has served over 15 thousand cups of soup to shelters in each of our communities. Last summer, we expanded the program with a new initiative called Scoop of Care. For the month of August, $1 from each scoop of our Spun Daily Ice Cream was donated to local charities and causes chosen by JOEY employees.

Two Copies of Jack: Straight from the Gut (one for you and one for your work colleague) Jack Welch

At JOEY, we have a saying, “Don`t be afraid of the unachievable, this is what will drive your vision forward.” We put this into practice every day by imagining ourselves a year from now and write about everything we have accomplished. Make these goals big and you will be surprised at what you turn into a reality.
That’s why I am including this New York Times bestseller as part of my giveaway. This book inspired me so much I ensured everyone at head office received a copy. In his autobiography Jack Welch recounts how he defied conventional wisdom and turned an aging behemoth of a corporation into a lean, mean engine of growth and corporate innovation. From his working-class childhood to his early days in G.E. Plastics to his life at the top of the world’s most successful company, Welch tells his intensely personal story with his well-known fire and candor. And although it chronicles billion-dollar deals and high-stakes corporate standoffs, Jack is ultimately a story about people-from a man who based his career on demanding only the best from others and from himself.


gc pic for SHHH with ColleaugesSuper Happy Happy Hour for you and your colleagues

As I mentioned, time to celebrate with your coworkers is so important. I am including a $300 JOEY gift card so you can celebrate this year’s success with your team. From 3-6pm every day, including weekends, you can enjoy $4 drinks and $3.5 appetizers. As part of the Super Happy Happy Hour guests can enjoy the JOEY classics like Super Sonics and Sushi Cones or try something new like our Hawaiian Tuna Tacos. Super Happy Happy Hour also continues from 9pm-close Sunday-Thursday giving you ample opportunity to celebrate with your colleagues.


To enter: Follow @JOEYRestaurants on Instagram. In the comment section for today’s Instagram Team Building Prize Pack tag your work family and share your favourite accomplishment of the year. Contest closes at 9:30am PST on December 23, 2016. Winner will be selected at random and announced on the Instagram Team Building Prize Pack post at 10:00am PST on December 23, 2016. 

Leadership Legacy; Al Jessa by Sean Moon, Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice News

December 21, 2016

Leadership Legacy

It is a long road from washing dishes in the trenches to a respected place in the executive suite of a successful restaurant chain, but Al Jessa, President of JOEY Restaurant Group, is living proof that anything is possible if a person learns to make the most of the right opportunities at the right time.

Jessa has had a long history with JOEY Restaurant Group founder Jeff Fuller and his impressive lineage of foodservice entrepreneurs, starting with Bus Fuller in 1954. Jessa started out on his own journey in the restaurant world as a dishwasher for the Fuller family operations back in 1988. Just a few short years later in 1991, Jessa had graduated to chef and by 1996 had become the Executive Chef of JOEY Restaurants, which Jeff Fuller had originally launched as JOEY Tomato Kitchen in 1992.

“This was a big time for us as we grew JOEY from six to nine stores in just three months, transitioning from pizza and pasta to global cuisine,” Jessa recalls. “Continually being given opportunities to grow with this company is a huge reason why I am where I am today. Now, as president of JOEY, it is important to me to continue to offer growth opportunity for our partners.” 

Although Jeff Fuller’s initial casual Italian concept proved to be successful, it was speaking more to the family sector where competition was fierce and patrons tend to be more economical. So, the decision was made to re-invent JOEY and in 2000, Fuller moved the concept away from the Italian, family friendly environment with spaghetti lights hanging from the ceiling, to a more premium casual, adult-friendly concept complete with a lush patio, acoustically sound dining room, and hip lounge. Today, JOEY has grown to 26 locations across Western Canada and Ontario, with new locations also opening up in the United States.



Jessa says that despite tough economic times from 2005 to 2010, JOEY was able to grow from $48 million in revenue to $100 million. “It was our biggest challenge to date, at the time,” says Jessa. “A huge part of overcoming this was our ability to create realities that weren`t going to happen for us. Determining what we wanted to be, not what we could be due to circumstances, drove us forward. We created a vision of building a world-class company, famous for developing elite leaders, altering the way business is done and making a positive difference everywhere. This was our mantra and we made every effort to create it, from bringing on and creating great leaders, developing education and apprenticeship programs and always being driven by innovative ideas.”

Jessa says his early passion for the hospitality industry was likely the result of his mother being a good cook. He remembers the joys of entertaining family and friends with meals his Mom had prepared and says it was such memories that kept him gravitating towards the hospitality industry. That early passion for entertaining through food has evolved over the years, developing into an intense focus on innovation and execution. 


“I am passionate about only Execution,” says Jessa. “I am not particularly creative. My good friend and colleague Chris Mills (our Executive Chef) is creative. I love execution — every dish going out to the customer the same way, with the same specs, the same flavor and presentation every day, every week. That takes real talent. I am passionate about executing all aspects of hospitality including creating a profit model for the restaurants that gives customers remarkable value, while at the same time respectable returns for our shareholders.” 

Having just turned 50 this year, Jessa says his main focus these days is transferring what he has learned during his 20–year history at JOEY to the next group of leaders.

“We have always said we are in the people business and are committed to our employee partners reaching their full potential through training programs, mentorship and continual coaching. We have dozens of cases of people starting as an expo, server or dishwasher that are now Regional Managers, VP of Culinary Operations, or VP of Marketing. There are 73 chefs in the organization who have received their Red Seal, six chefs who have their CCC designation, and 10 staff who received their ACC. The food service business is about much more than food.”


Even though JOEY continues to grow, Jessa believes there are more important goals that simply opening more restaurants. He says he wants to leave the company with a secure foundation and with a vision for the future that the next set of stakeholders are completely aligned on. 

“I am always looking to be to be innovative and relevant rather than just focusing on expansion. 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. The soul of JOEY is to strive to be the best in the industry. We are focused on winning the guest vote – we want to earn that. We want to always ensure we are innovating and have great value in what we offer to our guests.”