New burger shop sees future in Bayside food court

The brother-sister team of Gerry Surette and Suzanne Holbrook have opened the new Jags Burgers & Fries in the Bayside Centre. Charlene Holbrook takes care of business behind the counter.
Cathy DobsonThe brother-sister team of Gerry Surette and Suzanne Holbrook have opened the new Jags Burgers & Fries in the Bayside Centre. Charlene Holbrook takes care of business behind the counter. Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson

Gerry Surette and Suzanne Holbrook predict their new burger and fries shop will start a trend in the Bayside Centre food court.

“The future plans for the mall convinced us to do it,” said Surette. “Davey Jones (grocery store) is coming for sure and we get our meat from them.

“And I know the students at SCITS will bring a lot of business even though we only have a year with them,” said Holbrook, referring to the nearby high school set to close in 2017.

The sister-brother team said they signed a five-year lease because they believe the beleaguered downtown mall will turn around.

Big plans were announced by the mall’s new ownership late in 2015, which generated hope for redevelopment and growth. However, much of that has stalled since legal wrangling over ownership derailed many of the announced plans.

Nevertheless, Surette said tenants are slowly signing on.

Jags Burgers & Fries is located at the former Global Donuts location and joins two other tenants in the nearly empty food court.

Surette and Holbrook hope a wider choice of food will attract more customers and ultimately more food outlets.

“One of my goals is to turn this food court into a First Friday fun family centre,” said Surette, who volunteers as the executive director of Harmony for Youth, another mall tenant.

“We’ll have family events, games and live entertainment.”

During its inaugural First Friday cultural walkabout on Aug. 1 Jags gave away about 90 baby poutines and provided live music.

The secret to success is to let the community know and advertise on the street, Holbrook said.

Surette owns a fry truck that operated at the Lakewood Christian Campground for five years. The truck is now one of the services offered by Jags. It will travel to charitable events at no cost, then share profits with the charities.

“I’m active in SMAA, Harmony and Big Brothers. I love this community and believe in it,” said Surette.

Jags specializes in burgers and fries made from fresh meat and potatoes daily.  Burgers range from $5 to $7 depending on size. Combos are popular, such as a gourmet 6 oz. burger with fries and pop for $10 or a hot dog combo for $6.

A student special is available for $5, which includes a hamburger made from a frozen patty, fries and a drink.

Jags has 20 toppings at no extra charge. Sauces include spicy chipotle, horseradish mayo and Jags signature sweet barbecue sauce created by Holbrook.

Take out is available.

Hours of operation are 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday to Wednesday; 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday.  Call 519-491-7823.

Got an interesting business story?  Contact Cathy Dobson at cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca or 226-932-0985.