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Humble Red Deer landmark to be demolished to make way for new strip mall development

The project hasn’t yet received the go-ahead from MPC
The former site of the Peacock Inn drive-thru (most recently a Taco Time outlet), is set to be demolished to make way for a new strip mall in Red Deer. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)

A squat Red Deer building with an illustrious past as home of the “colonel burger” is set for demolition on Monday.

The former Peacock Inn drive-thru at 3321-49th Ave., went through several incarnations since the early 1970s. In the most recent, it was leased to a Taco Time restaurant.

Now the property owner plans to demolish this aging structure, as well as the building next door, recently occupied by Reddhart Workwear, to clear the way for the construction of a new five-bay strip mall.

Owner Cindy Mandrusiak said the two spaces were getting old and tired, while there’s a rising demand for new strip mall development on the South Hill.

Back in the early to mid-1970s, the Peacock Inn drive-thru was the place to go for home-made-style burgers in Red Deer.

The most popular item on the menu was the colonel burger. City resident Michael Sutherland recalled regularly stopping by with his teammates to get this stacked, mouth-watering delicacy after football practise at Camille J. Lerouge High School.

With thousand island dressing, two patties and pickled onions, “it was the favourite among all the young people,” recalled Sutherland. “Even after the Big Mac came along, it was not the same… not as good.

“You had to get a colonel burger,” he added.

Mandrusiak said she still has people asking her why she can’t reopen the Peacock Inn drive-thru. But the business — an offshoot of the original Peacock Inn that her parents opened in 1948 on Ross Street — had its day.

She can’t remember exactly why the South Hill location was closed. Her parents, John and Mary Konopaki, had owned about 11 local eateries at the time, including the first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet between Edmonton and Calgary.

No construction dates are yet scheduled for the new strip mall, although four of the five planned bays already have interested tenants, said Mandrusiak. This includes the Taco Time restaurant, which wants to reopen in a new space on the same property.

Approval for the project has not yet been green-lighted by the Municipal Planning Commission. Mandrusiak said an outstanding issue is the number of planned parking spaces on the site. She expects an MPC hearing to be held in October.

Meanwhile, Bettenson Sand and Gravel is expected to start demolishing the humble Red Deer landmark next week.

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Two older buildings along Gaetz Avenue North are set to be demolished to make way for a new strip mall in Red Deer. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)

Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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