Iconic Winnipeg eatery getting documentary treatment with ‘Sals Stories’

Iconic Winnipeg restaurant chain Salisbury House is the subject of an upcoming documentary film. Jeremy Desrochers / Global News

Its trademark red roof is one of Winnipeg’s most iconic sights, but for one local filmmaker, Salisbury House is much more than just a restaurant.

Mitch Rear, 21, is working on a documentary called “Sals Stories,” exploring the ways the homegrown restaurant chain has connected Winnipeggers since the first Sals opened its doors in 1931.

“It’s about how this small chain of restaurants eventually grew into this iconic Winnipeg thing,” Rear told 680 CJOB Tuesday.

“Because it’s iconic in Winnipeg and Manitoba itself, you can’t really take the red roof and throw it in another city, because it doesn’t really fit. It doesn’t have the heritage.

“We’re treating Salisbury House as kind of a character in the city of Winnipeg, because it really is. Everybody knows the red roof.”

READ MORE: Salisbury House to come home to Exchange District

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Rear said the idea for “Sals Stories” came as a student film project because the restaurant had always been the go-to for late-night dining when he and his friends would finish long days of filmmaking.

“It’s close to everybody’s hearts,” he said. “It’s a sense of community, that’s why they love going there.

“What better way to tell a story about the city than the people who go to these restaurants?”

Filmmaker Mitch Rear. Facebook

Rear said he’s interviewed everyone from a cook with a 50-year career at the same Sals restaurant, to musicians who used the restaurant as an after-gig hangout in the 1960s – but he’s putting a call out for more stories.

“We’re just asking for anyone that has Sals stories – even if you just love the breakfast or the red velvet cake,” he said.

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“Maybe couples that never knew each other and then randomly met at a Sals and went on to get married. We really want to get that story built from the ground up.”

If you have a Sals story to share, you can contact the filmmakers by email at, and maybe they’ll meet up with you at – guess where? – for a coffee and a conversation.

“It’s the best place to do an interview,” said Rear.

WATCH: Winnipeg documentary festival preview

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Winnipeg documentary festival preview – Oct 30, 2018