Brand-new Keg reopens with $1.8-million overhaul

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Windsor Star/Craig Pearson

Entrepreneur Ray Redekopp knows Windsor has endured some tough days, but he sees mostly good times ahead.

How confident is the Calgary-based businessman that Windsor’s enjoying a turnaround? Redekopp just invested $1.8 million in a major renovation at The Keg’s downtown location, which reopened Tuesday night after a construction-packed three-week shutdown.

“I love Windsor,” Redekopp said Tuesday. “And I’m confident that we know what we have here and that it’s going to continue to grow.”

Almost 18 years ago, Redekopp bought a tired building that was then The Keg at Devonshire Mall and did what he loves to do: renovate. Three years ago, he put $3.2 million more into that location, and now he’s showing the same commitment to the Riverside Drive location, which he opened in 2006 during the crazy week of what was then the Detroit Super Bowl.

Along the way his company also bought the Medical Arts building at 1011 Ouellette Ave., and renovated it to include residences for doctors.

But those rejuvenations don’t match the downtown Keg project for all-out speed.

“It was a big renovation and a really aggressive schedule,” said David Petretta, president of Petretta Construction which handled the project. “It should have been an eight-week renovation but we ended up doing it in 3 1/2 weeks.”

Some of the Keg refurbishments include: replacing the floor and ceiling, taking over the vestibule at One Riverside Drive, extending the bar and increasing the floor space, adding a whisky room, putting in an extra service bar and installing a three-sided fireplace. And an extra special touch is the $60,000-plus in original art that now graces the walls.

The Riverside restaurant has a more urban feel than its Devonshire cousin. The downtown Keg is now more awash in light-wood accents, with a built-in fabulous view.

“This developer has put a lot of faith in the City of Windsor,” Petretta said. “It’s hard to find a developer from a big city saying, ‘Hey, Windsor is where the action is going to be.’ But he is.”
Redekopp agrees he’s bullish on Windsor — where the unemployment rate has dropped from a country-leading 10 per cent to seven per cent and where the real estate market is heating up like a grill.

“During the recession, things were a lot tougher,” recalled Redekopp, who has owned 20-plus bars and restaurants in Windsor and other places, such as Alberta. “We weren’t as busy as other cities, as far as Kegs go. But we’ve had great staff and great guests, who return on a regular basis.

“So I looked at the next 15 years here and thought, ‘We definitely want to keep going.'”