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Wednesday, September 18, 2019
 
 
Mario Restaurant
 
P10662 - Mario's Tavern located at 755 Ouellette Ave., opened in 1950. The building is now occupied by Bentley's Roadhouse. Courtesy of Richard Merlo

Mario Restaurant
 
P10662 -Mario's Tavern located at 755 Ouellette Ave., opened in 1950. The building is now occupied by Bentley's Roadhouse. Courtesy of Richard Merlo
 

What eventually became known as Windsor’s premier dining establishment humbly began in the British American hotel in 1929, when Mike Mario, Eugene Walters and Frank Cundari decided to open a restaurant.

In 1930, they moved to 493 Ouellette. At the height of their popularity they had three restaurants operating in the city at the same time (the other two were in the 700 block of Ouellette and at the corner of Tecumseh and Ouellette).

Despite its Italian heritage, Mario’s was best known for its roast beef, although its pizza enjoyed an excellent reputation as well. In fact, the owners once shipped about 40 pizzas to a couple in Texas who were quite enamored with it.

Top entertainers such as Jimmy Durante and Sonny and Cher were known to dine there, and the restaurant catered to Sammy Davis Jr. while he was performing at the Elmwood.

In 1965, Mario’s Restaurant was sold to Kees Roozen, a native of Holland, who had grown up in the restaurant business. Mario’s became the first restaurant to offer a sidewalk cafe and a no-smoking section. The business fell on hard times and was eventually sold off. Ex-professional hockey player, Pit Martin, bought the 755 Ouellette location and opened a sports bar there. The building is now occupied by Bentley’s Roadhouse. The Tecumseh at Ouellette location became The Hacienda.

 
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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

 
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