Atlantic Trap and Grill owner, Jill Johnson will be shutting down her business after Stampede as the economics are not adding up in Calgary.
Darren Makowichuk / DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia
“It has been our great honour to be your home away from home and your neighbourhood watering hole,” reads the notice posted on the Atlantic Trap and Gill’s website as they announced their doors will close permanently on July 13.The pub has been serving classic Maritime dishes for 20 years but after a rough couple of years, owners Jill Johnson and her sister Tracy have decided to throw in the towel.“The concept has played out and I think it’s just time,” said Johnson. “When we opened way back in the day there were so many east-coasters in Alberta at the time so it was a popular home away from home for a lot of east-coasters.”Johnson has watched customer numbers decline as the Maritimes theme became less relevant.“Tons of people have moved back home or they’ve grown up, had families and don’t go out to bars anymore, kind of thing. It’s just not as popular a concept as it once was.”
Jill Johnson said the Maritimes theme is becoming less of a draw than it was 20 years ago.
Darren Makowichuk /
The sisters opened their first Atlantic-style restaurant in Vancouver with one other business partner, after Tracy noticed a scarcity of “fun pubs” while studying in the city. The two saw Alberta’s economy growing in the late 90’s and decided to expand by opening restaurants in Calgary in 1999 and Edmonton a year later. The three restaurants were in operation until they sold the Vancouver location in 2011 and shut down Edmonton’s restaurant at the end of March 2018. The building in Edmonton was in need of serious renovations and they couldn’t justify investing more money into the restaurant.“The expenses of owning a small restaurant have climbed so high in the last three or four years, it just wasn’t worth it anymore,” said Johnson, who took a $30,000 pay cut in 2016 to keep the business running.The pub became a home to many people who had moved from the east. By Monday afternoon, over 600 people had commented on the Trap and Gill’s Facebook post to express their sadness and bring up memories.“Awe this makes me so sad. I actually met my husband there 9 years ago,” Erin Dottor commented.“It was my favourite spot! Loved the live music and the friendly environment. Cannot be replaced or replicated,” commented Paul LaClaire.Johnson said the staff and regular customers were the highlight of the pub.“We’ve had extremely dedicated regulars. I’ve been to their weddings. I’m very good friends with some…It’s been a real family feeling here from the get-go,” said Johnson. “But it’s time to say goodbye.”With files from Chris Varcoesbabych@postmedia.comOn Twitter: @BabychStephanie