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'Bring back the restaurant': Vancouverites want the Zellers reboot to have the Grandma-friendly food

Zellers is making a comeback, but it won't be the same without the restaurant
The Zellers Family Restaurant in Surrey Central in 2012.

When it was announced that Zellers would be returning to Canada many Vancouverites only had one thing in mind: Will the restaurant be coming back, too?

Zellers was founded in London, Ontario in 1931 but has a strong Vancouver connection.

Vancouver entrepreneur Joe Segal, who owned the Fields chain, bought Zellers in 1976 however he sold it to Hudson's Bay in 1978. Segal, who died in May 2022, described his takeover of Zellers as “a case of the mouse swallowing the elephant” because Zellers was then so much bigger than his 100-store Fields chain.

By the 1990s, there were over 300 Zellers locations across Canada, two of which were in Vancouver with another eight spread out across the Lower Mainland. Select locations contained a stylized 1950s diner, initially called The Skillet but later rebranded to Zellers Family Restaurant.

Now, locals are hoping for a nostalgic return of the Zellers restaurant.

Bring back the restaurant scream Zellers fans

The menu was typical diner fare, such as grilled cheese with tomato soup, BLTs, burgers with the famous crinkle cut fries, milkshakes, and classic breakfasts for as low as $8. The retailer was known for its low prices and the food was no exception.

In the wake of the news that Zellers would return inside select Hudson's Bay department stores this year, many people have started to share memories of visiting the restaurant.

As it turns out it was the place to go with your grandmother. One Reddit commenter said, "the Zellers Restaurant was like Grandma Town."

The discount retailer has been teasing Canadians with an updated website landing page and Instagram videos. Under the most recent post, the top comments are all demands for the company to bring back the restaurant too.

"I'm tryna eat at the Zellers restaurant again who's with me??!?" says one commenter. "Bring back the restaurant please," say several others.


A post shared by Zellers (@zellersofficial)

Zellers cashing in on nostalgia

Vancouverites have taken to Twitter to echo the sentiment, though not everyone can agree on the quality of the food.

It's unlikely that the restaurant will make a comeback with the rest of the brand which is reportedly refreshing its identity. Zellers will be taking an e-commerce-first approach with select homeware and apparel products available inside The Bay. However, there are other aspects of the chain that locals are attached to, such as the beloved mascot Zeddy, that they hope will make a return.

Broadcaster James Cybulski, the voice of the Abbotsford Canucks, even donned the Zeddy mascot costume for a few shifts growing up in Ontario.

With files from Glen Korstrom.