What's up with Alcatra?
I've noticed that Alcatra (http://alcatra.ca/) at 1000 - 7th Avenue S.W., Calgary has had the doors closed for a couple of weeks now. There isn't any sign indicating they're closing and all the furniture is still there. Anyone know what might be happening?
I've had some really great meals there and it would be a shame to see it go.
I just called. They are closed for good.
Yes this is sad, but I have to say that this place provided a good example of why things like marketing, signage, and corporate identity are so important. Unless you're like me and you google the heck out of a resto name because you need to figure out what its ethnic identity is, there was no way to know what sort of place this was. The "logo" looked like it was made in MS Word with no thought at all. The signage outside said "breakfast-lunch-evening fine dining." "Evening fine dining?" What sort of 1975 wording is that?
I'm sure the food was good, but that's not enough. You have to invest some money in graphics, in identity; they had a high-profile location that hundreds of thousand of people would see from the C-Train every day. I never saw anything like a positive impression, and they should have used the "theatre" of their huge frontage to sell themselves.
And yes I know there are exceptions to all I say above- places with zero graphical zing that do great and places (Cuppgogo was the perfect example) with great graphics and a cool web presence that went under. But like I say, Alcatra was in a perfect spot to promote buzz and it blew it horribly.
Sad to hear of this place closing it doors, but for many of the reasons mentioned above by John Manzo, I'm not entirely surprised. I was one of those many who could see it on a daily basis, and had my one and only meal there on a cold winter night in Jan-2007 not long after it first opened I believe, and had the really tasty signature Alcatra (slow roasted pot roast). The appetizers were kind of a disappointment - am referring to the garlic sauteed squid rings, and baked scallops. I'd have thoughts of going there to eat during the week when I didn't feel like making dinner, but with it only open in the evenings on Friday and Saturday, that ruled out a lot of the times I would have been pleased to do. Not sure why they had those kind of business hours for the nights, but am sure that had to do with their downfall as well...