La Belle Province (restaurant)
La Belle Province (English: The Beautiful Province) is a well-known fast food restaurant chain in the province of Quebec, Canada. It is also known as La Belle Pro, Belle Pro, or La Belle as 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.