July 18, 2012

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Earls Parrot Makes Final Flight

"Patio furniture was used indoors to save costs and the décor was brightly coloured paper maché parrots."

The 5 foot high parrot, which stands over 10 feet when on its perch, that has graced the front of Earls Edmonton Tin Palace on Jasper Avenue for the past 25 years, will not be part of the new décor when the 30 year old restaurant, which closed Monday, reopens in late November after a five month renovation.

Please feel free to join us at 10:00 am this Thursday, July 19th at 11830 Jasper Avenue, where the local Edmonton construction crew working on the project, Dawson Wallace, will have the crane in place, removing the parrot and perch from its location at the front entrance of the restaurant. The Parrot will be handed over to Barb Spencer, CEO of Edmonton’s Zebra Child Protection Centre (zebracentre.ca) who will auction it off as a fundraising initiative.

Back in 1982, when the Fuller family opened the very first Earls in the company here in Edmonton, the restaurant was bright green and white, patio furniture was used indoors to save costs and the décor was brightly coloured paper maché parrots, over 300 of them! The parrots also inspired a selection of other whimsical creatures with playful pigs, chickens, cows, rhino’s and penguins taking center stage in ads, commercials, artwork and throughout the restaurants.

Later, when Earls turned to well-known Vancouver designer David Vance to design their restaurants, he looked to that first restaurant in Edmonton for inspiration and created the giant parrots, which adorned the roof of all the Earls restaurants for many years. The guests loved them and you could spot an Earls a mile away.

With a new design direction in 2003, the birds became extinct one restaurant at a time as each location renovated, evolving from a fun and whimsical burger and beer place to a more serious, food driven, restaurant group. The décor changed to reflect the more “grown up” atmosphere and the menu became a bit more global, though the fun remained a big part of the atmosphere - as did Earls “Bigger Better Burger”. There are now over 60 Earls across Canada, as well as in Washington and Colorado. The 63rd location recently opened in London, Ontario.

Although one or two parrots still remain on the roof of the few independent Earls restaurants, this is the last one for the company (and last one in Alberta) and fittingly so, is coming down off the roof of Earls very first restaurant here in Edmonton just as Earls is about to celebrate their 30th anniversary, beginning a five million dollar renovation on July 16. Earls Edmonton Tin Palace is scheduled to reopen sometime in late November/early December, 2012.