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about

Located in the south end of Guelph, manhattans pizza bistro●music club is your independently owned neighbourhood restaurant that boasts a unique dining experience featuring live music almost every night of the week (see music line-up for details). Our delicious menu and hard-working kitchen crew serve up a little something for everyone. Made with love and quality ingredients our dinner menu includes New York style thin crust pizza, pastas, grilled entrées, and mouth-watering desserts all made in-house. The newly redone interior is warm and inviting, perfect for romantic and relaxing late night eats and drinks (kitchen is open til midnight every Friday/Saturday). Our doors are open weekday afternoons for lunch @ 11AM.

Everyone is welcome: singles and couples, young and old, families, and those first dates. No dress code – come as you are, or however you want to be. Reservations are appreciated.

Do it here.

Our 1918 re-manufactured Steinway & Sons baby grand piano is care of:

Mark’s Piano Service
354-C Elizabeth St.
Guelph, ON
N1E 2X9
(519) 822-2451
open by appointment

 

history

Over the last couple of decades manhattans has matured into a vital and distinctive establishment located in the south end of Guelph. Just as the south end has flourished into a vibrant and ever expanding community, the ‘newest’ manhattans which is now in its fourth phase, has grown up and kept on with the changing times. It is Thomas Aldridge’s zeal for restaurants that brought him to where he and manhattans are today.

Thomas, a hospitality-focused entrepreneur began learning his chops at the age of 12 when he spent his summers in Wolseley Bay on the French River selling sandwiches to fisherman via a 16ft cedar stripped lodge boat. He moved to Guelph 25 years ago and jumped into his own pizza business, Pepi’s Pizza at Willow and Westwood. He learned the ropes while serving the community, sponsoring local activities, and creating a family friendly licensed meeting place for the next 5 years.

Thomas then set his sights on manhattans, a family owned New York style pizzeria nestled in the far south corner of Guelph. On the edge of town with farm pastures to the right and city to the left, Thomas created a grassroots jazz eatery with the help of previous owners Nancy and Jerry. Upon purchasing, Thomas expanded the restaurant, bought a Yamaha apartment style stand up piano, and created a rustic yet eclectic outdoor patio which was demarcated from the street and car park by a series of seven sun faded doors of various ancestry. With no dishwasher and a vintage Bari kitchen, Thomas and crew composted all their wet waste and grew their own vegetables in the green space behind the restaurant. It was a beatnik spot with relaxed hours, no lunches, home made style eats, and a casual atmosphere.

Several years later, urban development in the south end of Guelph forced Thomas to change locations. He decided to stay close, keep the manhattans’ name, and moved steps away to 951 Gordon Street and within three months had converted a former real estate office into a proper restaurant and club. With the help of a Toronto designer, the ‘new’ manhattans became an extension of the old but also included a stage big enough for a baby grand piano, a traditional bar, and a New Orleans inspired mezzanine. The seven sun faded doors were installed in the lounge and Thomas commissioned a local blacksmith, David Robertson, to create three rod iron trees for the interior which were reminiscent of the old patio. Like the New Year baby (with only three months of labour), Thomas opened the ‘new’ manhattans New Years Eve 1997. Though the size of the establishment had more than doubled, Thomas and staff continued to offer outstanding service, quality food, and something unique – local live music, particularly jazz.

In the early morning of August 18th, 2010, manhattans was damaged by a fire that began in the sign of a neighbouring store and sustained a great deal of smoke and water damage. For the fourth time in his career as a restauranteur, Thomas was presented with an opportunity for change. The temptation of starting fresh at a new location and moving downtown was enticing but he ultimately felt as though manhattans was at home in the south end as are its family and friends. After 9 months of preparation and renovation, manhattans re-opened Monday, May 9th, 2011. The fire, though devastating was a happy coincidence as Thomas was able to get re-inspired, make improvements to his 13 year old shop, and give the community back what they had been missing.