Derek Baldwin
Publishing date:

Jul 19, 2021  •  3 hours ago

Two business partners have invested heavily in the renewal of Belleville’s Downtown District with the purchase and substantial conversion of the former Modern Café locale at 68 Front Street ahead of opening their new Tiger Chicken & Ribs restaurant and bar this week.
After assuming the long time eatery premises formerly owned by the Wong family, new owners gutted the entire main floor of the restaurant to refit the premises with separate eating and licenced bar areas served by an all new kitchen chock full of stainless steel fittings.

The restaurant now touts a traditional bar complemented by contemporary seating, lighting and furnishings.

This week’s opening marks a second location now for the Tiger Chicken & Ribs brand in the region after the first opening in Quinte West of Tiger Chicken and Ribs to much success in 2017.

Business partners Soma Kugan and Kumaran Balasingan believe Belleville’s rejuvenated downtown was a good fit for their expansion plans given other works underway in the city core such as the reformation of the former Maze Mall just up the street.

The reformation of the city’s traditional downtown has been led by Downtown District Business Improvement Area punctuated with successful new ventures such as the Al Fresco summer celebration now underway which is drawing large crowds.

Kugan told The Intelligencer in a brief tour of the new eatery Sunday that “99 per cent” of the food on the menu served will be home-cooked style fare.

“When we looked around, we found that this was the right location with a good population. We have lots of experience with food so we brought in. It’s a nice town,” he said.

The business partners have 55 years in the food-service industry between them.

“My whole life has been in restaurants, almost 25 years of experience,” Kugan said.

Kugan said he expects to have a staff complement of up to 15 people when the restaurant is fully up and running and the plan is to build a sidewalk patio next summer when the business is more established in the city and frequented by regular patrons.

Similar to many restaurants in Quinte facing struggles to hire new staff amid the Step 3 reopening of Ontario, Kugan said the restaurant is now actively seeking new employees.

“We’re looking for experienced servers, bartender and a cook,” Kugan said.

For more details about the newest business in the Downtown District, log on to .