If Mo Blayways had to name his top two passions, it would be operating restaurants and sports. When an opportunity came along to combine these passions under one roof, he co-founded 1ST RND, a dining and sports experience you won’t find anywhere else.
“1ST RND is a restaurant with a focus on burgers, beer and sports where you and your family can have a great meal and/or enjoy the game,” Blayways, president, explains. “We don’t define ourselves as a ‘sports bar.’ We offer a lot more in an interactive environment.”
When you walk into 1ST RND, you are immediately excited to see that you can watch the game – not just the game, but pretty much any major league, college game or MMA match going on that day. Each location has 50+ screens and massive matrixed video walls. It’s designed so groups can still converse comfortably while not missing a single play.
“We present every game as though it’s a championship game,” Blayways smiles. “Every sport is represented with audio as well as video. We bring in hosts for a lot of the games to give the fans an experience they won’t get anywhere else in Edmonton. For Monday night football we have a TSN Radio host. We have contests that you can play whether you are 5 or 50. Prizing includes replica helmets, tickets, jerseys, etc. We try to make every game equal or greater than watching the game live. That is what separates us from every other pub, sports bar or restaurant in the city.”
But that’s not the only differentiator.
“We approach our culinary offerings with the utmost pride,” Blayways continues. We are very proud of our 18 signature burgers. The burger patties are always fresh, 100 per cent Alberta beef chuck; we have our own proprietary blend and it is hormone, gluten and antibiotic free. We order several times a week so all of our ingredients, including the buns, are fresh and never frozen. We utilize as many local suppliers as possible and most of the items on the menu are made from scratch. The menu is diverse with something for everyone, including meal size salads and other offerings. As a team we travel, test, and sample to ensure we stay ahead of the curve.”
The restaurant’s slogan also promises beer, and aficionados are thrilled to choose from among 36 beers on tap, several of which are locally brewed craft beers, six proprietary 1ST RND blends, and 70 cans and bottles from all over the world.
When it comes to burgers, beer and sports, 1ST RND plays in the big leagues!
1ST RND opened its first location in 2014 and the concept quickly took off. Now the brand, who is incredibly discerning about its locations, operates out of West Edmonton Mall and downtown on 104 Ave – and a recent opportunity sees the restaurant opening up in the United States.
“Our next step is going to be in New Jersey in the American Dream mall at the Meadowlands,” Blayways is happy to announce. “We will be next to MetLife Stadium and able to capitalize on not one but two NFL teams and a host of major events in one of the most iconic stadiums in America.”
Blayways concludes. “I would like to continue to grow across Canada as well. I think if we continue down this path, the sky is the limit. When I see a room full of fans watching a game and they are all cheering and everyone has a drink in their hand and food on the table, I have a great sense of pride, because we have accomplished what we set out to do.”
Learn more at www.1strnd.ca.