Alcoholic beverages to be served in main artery of Devonshire Mall for first time in 20 years

Turbo Espresso Bar in downtown Windsor, Ont. (Turbo Espresso Bar / Facebook)

Turbo Espresso Bar will be the first new LCBO licensee in the main artery of Devonshire Mall to offer alcoholic beverages in over 20 years.

The business will be serving up paninis, Italian gelato and local wine, beer and spirits for shoppers with their new location at the end of July.

Owners say Turbo Espresso Bar can provide the alcoholic beverages thanks to the cooperation of the City of Windsor and the work of Valerie Dawn, principal architect at Glos Arch + Eng.

“When we were first told that this was impossible, that's what really piqued my interest,” said owner Renaldo Agostino. “People who know me understand that I love a good challenge. I like to make positive things happen. This is a game changer for small businesses like ours and it couldn't have happened without Valerie Dawn and the amazing staff at The City of Windsor.”

He says the establishment was able to obtain a liquor license using shared restrooms and without a formal exterior exit – both items that traditionally made applying for license challenging.

“When Renaldo approached me to assist him in navigating approvals for his business, it was clear that the municipality had historically taken a clear stance on classifying licensed establishments of any size that would prohibit his vision from moving forward (not explicitly, but in practical application),” said Dawn.

She said together, they came to a solution that satisfies the requirements and intent of the Ontario Building Code, while also relaxing existing restrictions for cafe spaces under 30 seats.

“In an industry riddled with red tape, I’m always delighted and encouraged to be a part of this kind of case-by-case problem solving to support local businesses in our city,” added Dawn.

Dawn said the red tape is why no one else has done it.

“Licensing a small space in a shared environment was rendered impossible by costly and impractical architectural upgrades,” said Dawn. “As professional who is new to this region, I was able to bring in some perspective from other municipalities, and I was happy to find that the City of Windsor’s building department was filled with bright, good-natured, critically-minded individuals who were open to dialogue.”

Turbo Espresso Bar Devonshire Mall and will seat up to 30 patrons, designed by NXT Level’s Ramy Yacoub the café will have a comfortable lounge feel.

“Devonshire Mall is excited to welcome Turbo Espresso Bar to the centre’s strong retail mix and are happy to support local retail,” said Chris Savard, associate director of Cushman & Wakefield, the management company for Devonshire Mall.

Turbo Devonshire Mall is also working towards offering local wine, beer and spirits ‘to-go’. Shoppers will be able to take home a bottle of wine from North 42 or a six-pack of beer from Walkerville Brewery and other local participating merchants as well.

The mall location will be open seven days a week. Turbo’s downtown location is open six days a week with indoor dining available starting this weekend.