Stark and Perri rebranding to ‘The Prohibition Warehouse’ under new ownership

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Uptown Waterloo’s beloved restaurant and bar, Stark and Perri, is getting rebranded.

Now under new ownership, the restaurant closed down on Oct. 7 and renovations have been underway since.

“We took it over about a month ago and we’re refurbishing and we’re looking at going in a different direction with the food,” said Wayne Montgomery, builder and designer.

“We’ve done a number of changes already, to this point. Mostly additional lighting and we’ve changed up our area a lot, and new TV’s. We also added in a shuffle board,” said Montgomery.

The new restaurant will be named The Prohibition Warehouse, a reference to Waterloo’s bootlegging origins.

“We wanted to make a statement about there being a new owner. The restaurant was good before, but it didn’t have a big following and rebranding helps with regaining those food customers,” said Montgomery.

“So we’re going to have wood fire pizza, people already really loved our pizza before… but I kind of thought that the wood fire pizza oven would bring in a new feel to the space, so we brought the oven in. We’re doing an Italian inspired pub-type menu, so it’ll be pizzas, pastas. You’ll still have your standard pub food,” Montgomery said.

The bar will be open for patrons every Friday and Saturday evening while the renovations are taking place, and was also open this past Thursday, Oct. 31. for the Halloween-celebrating crowd.

The official opening date is contingent on when the brand new wood fire pizza oven finishes getting installed, but is set to fully open with its new menu in early to mid November, Montgomery explained.

“So we’re open Friday, Saturday, with just a limited appetizer menu and then obviously there’s the bar night, but we can’t put out our full menu until we have the pizza oven,” Montgomery said.

Although the renovations aren’t fully complete, the changes so far are noteworthy.

“It was sort of dark and dingy, so we added some bright colours and a lot more lighting,” said Montgomery.

For a basement restaurant, this is a profound renovation. The dark furniture, bookcases and fireplaces that added to the moody atmosphere have been removed, opening the space up.

In their place, palm leaf prints line the walls. Other new additions include TV’s and a shuffleboard, as already noted. Patio fire tables are also projected to be installed for the summer months.

The unique two-level split of the restaurant evidently remains, with the bar on the ground floor and more tables for dining patrons on the intermediate floor.

With the rebrand, the goal is to attract more patrons, and Montgomery explained how they’ve already seen a diverse crowd for the bar nights.

“It’s going to be the ‘same-same’ but different at night time, so every Friday, Saturday evening you’ll get a half student half young professional party crowd,” said Montogomery.

“I mean, I know that when I was a student I didn’t want to go to nightclubs every single night. So I think that it’s a fresh, not as loud, more social (place with) reasonably priced food. It’s going to be the type of place that students want to go to.”

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