La Belle Province (restaurant)
La Belle Province (English: The Beautiful Province) is a well-known fast-food eatery in the province of Quebec, Canada. It is known as La Belle Pro, Belle Pro, or La Belle for short nicknames. Each location is independently franchised; some are open 24 hours a day.
Founder Peter Kivetos, a native of Greece, opened the first La Belle Province on Sherbrooke Street East in 1970. He took the name with permission from a restaurant on Saint Catherine Street where he had worked, which had burned down in the 1960s. It became a franchise when the second location was opened in Saint-Hubert in 1976.
Kivetos' ownership group had 45 locations in 1997. By 1999 there were 125 locations under the name La Belle Province. It is not strictly a franchise operation, in 1999 there were six different ownership groups, mostly relatives of Kivetos.
In the early 2000s, a location opened in Oakville, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, in hopes of taking advantage of the influx of former Montrealers living in the area. The restaurant later closed.
Reason for the various names
A Quebec judge ruled that the La Belle Province franchise owners could not prevent others from giving a similar name to their restaurants, because "la belle province" is an official nickname for the province of Quebec. This resulted in several knock-off franchises that had menus and prices similar to the original franchise in order to capitalize on its existing image and marketing. Notable knock-offs include Belle Province II, La Plus Belle Province, La Belle Québécoise and La Très Belle Province.
- Delean, Mark (1997-03-24). "Fries, two dogs and a Coke: By keeping their business simple, Lafleur's and La Belle Province continue to expand while some of their fast-food rivals are in retreat". The Gazette. pp. C8.
- MACDONELL, ROD and CLARK, CAMPBELL (1993-03-01). "$3 million worth of hot dogs: String of bankruptcies an all-dressed fiasco for taxpayers". The Gazette. pp. A1.
- "Deux restaurants La Belle Province de Montréal condamnés pour fraude fiscale" (in French). Québec: La Presse Canadienne. 15 April 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2010.[dead link]
- Block, Sheri. Ben Mulroney's Food Tour of Montreal, CTV.ca, April 1, 2008. Accessed August 18, 2008.