Click below to view the “Our History, Your Salisbury House” page from our special 85th Anniversary insert in the Winnipeg Free Press.

History Page

The Salisbury House Story…


The House with the “Little Red Roof” was the vision of  Mr. Ralph Erwin, who was an American actor in a traveling road company that visited Winnipeg Manitoba. Erwin recognized the need for a place where people could get good food in a friendly, pleasant atmosphere at any time of the day or night.

Since opening the first site in 1931 on Fort Street in Winnipeg with $135.00 which he  borrowed from friends in Nebraska, Erwin’s original Salisbury House has certainly grown over the years and currently boasts 20 locations in Winnipeg. Erwin’s new restaurant was named “Salisbury House” after Lord Salisbury, who was famous in England for his love of ground steak,. The hamburger craze, at that time, had just begun to sweep the United States with its popularity. Through his new Salisbury House, Erwin  was the first to introduce the hamburger concept to Winnipeg at the same time deciding to call it a “Nip”, indicating a smaller amount of the famous Salisbury Steak. Erwin didn’t realize what an entrepreneur he truly was when he also brought Silex Coffee to his Salisbury House.  Although popular in the United States Silex Coffee was unknown to Winnipeg and indeed to Canada. He also was responsible for another first in the city when in 1954 during the post war automobile boon the new Ellice Ave location opened with drive-in “car-hop” service. Salisbury House, as you can see, has never been a stranger to innovation.

Today, our now famous Nips, served on our freshly baked buns with our tasty grilled onions, continue to anchor our full menu along with our wonderful ALL DAY Breakfasts, DELICIOUS Lunches and HEARTY Dinners. All of this is augmented by our outstanding specialty items such as  Sweet Potato Fries, Homemade soups, and freshly baked desserts such as our luscious Wafer Pie, Chocolate Iced Donuts, and our famous Red Velvet Cake. Classic items with Legendary Taste.

After more than eight decades Sals continues to pioneer the industry. We became one of the first local restaurants to offer food cooked in Trans Fat Free Oil, allowing the company to offer healthier alternatives without compromising our same Legendary Taste. Several Gluten free and Vegetarian menu choices are also available. Several years back every Sals restaurant started to provide free WiFi service at a time when it was not widely available and not often found in restaurants. Many of the Salisbury House past and current promotions have been orginal, innovative, and industry firsts which are now often emulated by other restaurants across Canada.

All of the wonderful tastes begin in our unique Commissary. Virtually all ingredients for our menu items are created in this centralized facility and delivered FRESH DAILY to all Salisbury House location. This process allows us to guarantee fresh, consistent, high quality food to our guests with every visit to all Sals locations.

Your favorite items are available in take home quantities from our SALS STORE located at our Commissary which is open to the public. Freshly prepared sauces, dressings, pancake batter, breads, buns, cakes and  pies are but a few of the many items available. Every Salisbury House restaurant also has a selection of fresh pies and cakes as well as other baked goods for take home. We will also expertly prepare and package just about every item on our menu for take home. Drop in or call ahead. Exceptional quality and taste from Our House to Your House.

While much has changed over the years, we remain totally dedicated to ensuring a quality experience for every Guest. With each visit our Guests are treated to our “YES WE CAN” philosophy. If you have a request to substitute or change an item, we will always try to accommodate you – our team is committed to making your every visit to Salisbury House an exceptional one.

Your House. Your Food. Your Way.



The Salisbury House Timeline


1930’s & 1940’s

1931 Ralph Erwin opens first Salisbury House restaurant on Fort Street

1932 Second location opens, featuring a roof painted with leftover red barn paint and the legendary Red Roof is born.

1936 Fort Street closes; sixth location opens in the old Graham Avenue Bus Depot

1947 First of three summers at Stone’s Dock in Kenora


1950’s & 1960’s

1954 Ellice & Roseberry opens with car hop service

1956 The original Pembina & Stafford opens, complete with Cigar Stand

1963 5 new locations open, including Main & Matheson

1964 New Commissary opens at #1Bannister Road 17 new locations open, including Calgary, Red Deer, Swift Current & Moose Jaw


1970’s & 1980’s

1974 University Crescent location burns down

1979 Henderson Highway & St. Anne’s Road locations open

1980 Sals Store opens at the Commissary

1985 Location opens in Courts of St.James


1990’s & 2000’s

1991 Henderson Highway renovated into Full Service location

2002 Crossroads Station Shopping Centre location opens

2003 3315 Portage Avenue at Parkdale location opens

2004 Winnipeg Goldeyes Ballpark Concession & Medical Arts Building locations open

2006 Earl Barish becomes President and CEO and undertakes task of rejuvenating Winnipeg’s iconic restaurant chain

2007 New location opens in Health Sciences Centre

2008 Red Roof Catering successfully launches

2010 North End flagship location opens at 787 Leila Avenue. Head Office moves to 787 Leila Avenue

2011 Salisbury House opens at the new James Armstrong Richardson International Airport

2012 Extensive interior renovations completed at the St. Anne’s and Fermor Family restaurant

2012 New South-End Flagship signature Restaurant at Pembina & Stafford opens in April featuring a stunning, bold interior design which includes the Manitoba Music Display

2013 Salisbury House introduces Sals Xpress

2013 Sals concession opens at Investors Group Field, the new home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers

2014 Interior Renovations including the addition of the Manitoba Sports Memorabilia Display completed at popular Portage and Parkdale location

2015 Salisbury House of Canada LTD forms partnership with Norway House Cree Nation and opens a new Sals on May 5th in Norway House Manitoba

2015 Construction begins in Steinbach Manitoba for a new Salisbury House Family Restaurant

2015 Sals opens a second concession  at Investors Group Field, the  home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers