Epicureous in Edmonton: 2014 in Review

2014 was definitely Elm Café’s year, as they increased their footprint in Edmonton to include District, a great quick-serve café in the government district, and Burrow, innovatively located in our pedway system above the Central LRT station. Owner Nate Box also consulted with Denizen Hall, the refurbished bar in the Grand Hotel, to create a comfort food-focused menu that will no doubt help curious diners overlook the establishment’s seedy past. Had Little Brick, their forthcoming café/general store in the Riverdale neighbourhood, not encountered construction delays typical for any new projects, it would have been an even more runaway year for Nate. At any rate, it’s great to see a local company succeed and flourish in multiple locations – here’s hoping for a speedy finish for Little Brick!

Burrow Central Station

Here are a few other notable food happenings in 2014:

  • Speaking of cafes, it was also a strong year for other independent coffee shops. Transcend returned downtown with a location in the Mercer Warehouse, Credo established a second branch on 124 Street, Iconoclast Koffiehuis’ opening in Oliver, and Remedy added a fourth shop on 124 Street (look for a fifth in Terwillegar to come in 2015).
  • In addition, a significant number of independent restaurants joined the food scene, including Ampersand 27, Bar Bricco, Daravara, Farrow, Hart’s Table, Meat, Rostizado and Solstice.
  • On the flip side, the city did lose its share of prominent food businesses, with Tavern 1903 topping the list that also features Café de Ville, Everything Cheese, Moriarty’s and the Wild Tangerine restaurant.
  • Some measure Edmonton’s place in the world with our ability to attract chains and franchises. To that end, we gained a Popbar at West Edmonton Mall, a Carl’s Jr. outpost, and Filipino fast food chain Max’s Restaurant this year.
  • Although not as prominent, pop-up restaurants still haven’t fallen by the wayside. They continue to provide a way for start-ups to highlight niche cuisine like the vegan Long Lost Foods (formerly the Mirepoix Trio) or specialty items like those offered by Honest Dumplings or Prairie Noodle Shop, whose last pop-up sold out in eight minutes.
  • We also saw the start of several new large-scale outdoor food events this summer, with the inaugural Porkapalooza attracting a stunning 25,000 attendees over three days, and Edmonton’s first Diner en Blanc succeeding in spite of a rain out. Taste of Edmonton celebrated its 30th anniversary, and will be bringing the Canadian Food Championships to the city in 2015.
  • Edmontonians were encouraged to flex their kitchen skills with the release of Duchess Bake Shop’s cookbook, Daniel Costa’s Italian cooking app Tavola, and the expansion of Kathryn Joel’s Get Cooking into its new MacEwan studio.
  • Mother’s Market, the city’s first three-day, year-round farmers’ market opened this summer, while SPUD, a grocery delivery service offering organic and local options, opened up a branch in Edmonton.

Looking forward to what 2015 brings!

You can check out previous year in reviews here.

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