Located just off Highway 400, this unique log structure has seen more failed businesses than some South American banana republics seen military coups. The last business to occupy this space was the much-lauded Innisfil Heights Marché Restaurant, which opened in September, 2005 and mysteriously shut its doors sometime in the summer of 2007.
Some additional images of the Marché 'back in the day'.
Professional chef couple Jörg and Marianne Reichert, best known for the Mövenpick Marchés in Toronto, opened up this 14,000 square-foot – two-story - log house with seating for 300 just off Innisfil Beach Road, minutes away from Georgian Downs (Racetrack and Slots) and the 400 flea market. The building also boasted 2,500 sq.ft. retail shop that offered everything from gifts and magazines to European chocolate, ham, breads and cheeses.
Not much has changed in terms of the appearance of the building and grounds since the abrupt closure.
The Reichert's also furnished the restaurant with unique custom-made fixtures and furniture which had been imported from Spain, Switzerland, France, Holland and Germany and is reported to be worth approximately 6 million Dollars.
A 180 seat patio and balcony seats were also available to dinners, weather permitting.
The Reichert's location of the restaurant was thought to be ideal for the target market they were after; the thousands of travelers that used Highway 400 to travel from Toronto to get to the cottage in the Muskokas or to go skiing at Horseshoe Valley or Blue Mountain. As owners also employed approximately 100 staff, this business venture was very well welcomed by the Innisfil municipal department of economic development.
The sign just outside the main entrance detailed the Marché master plan which called for a petting zoo . . . very handy if the butcher delivery was late.
The Reicherts planned, among many other things, a petting zoo, outside playgrounds, beer garden, picnic drive-through, a drive up banking machine and a gas station.
Restaurant Apocalypse & Ghost Guests
When I had a peek in the window, I was rather surprised to find that even after several months of closure, all the tables were set to receive dinner guests. As this seriously sketched me out, I did not attempt to determine a P.O.E. during this initial location scout.
From my view outside, I could see through the windows that the coolers were still plugged in and contained beverages. Dinnerware was stacked at the ready to be filled with food and packaged European delicacies were ready for purchase.
The restaurant's web page is off line and it's telephone has been disconnected. Those whom I've asked are not sure when or why the business closed and I am unable to bump into any previous employees.
One theory I have heard is that Richtree Markets, who own Canadian chains of the Movenpick, Marché and Marchelino restaurants had a nasty falling out with its founders, Jörg and Marianne Reichert. There were several lawsuits flying but this was settled even before the Reichert's opened up the Innisfil Marché market restaurant. The theory is that one of the lawsuits reanimated from the dead (appropriate for this post-Halloween post) and bit them.
This still does not explain why the assets have not been liquidated and that the restaurant still appears as if the staff just set up for the next dinner guests.
Post a comment here if you are in the know . . .