Food Notes for April 29, 2019

Elm Cafe Closes to Make Way for a New Concept

Back in 2010 when Elm Cafe first opened, I wrote, “With his passion for good food and community, I think Nate [Box] is on to something great.”

Elm Cafe

Nate Box on Elm Cafe’s closing day

Nine years later, Elm has spawned the Black Box Hospitality Group, a cluster of popular casual eateries in central Edmonton, including District Cafe and Salz. Last year, they undertook their most ambitious project yet in the historic Gibbard Block in Highlands, where they will open new concepts Fox Burger, June’s Delicatessen, and Highlands Liquor this summer.

Last week, Elm Cafe announced that it would be closing on April 27, 2019 to make way for another chapter for the space. Speedy’s Cantina will open in mid-May, serving “simple, affordable, delicious burritos” for lunch and dinner, and “eventually late night”. Notably, while Rostizado offers their La Mision burritos at lunch and through food delivery services in the evenings, there is definitely room for others on this front. Elm Cafe will be missed, but the strength in Black Box is one that evolves to meet changing community needs. I look forward to trying the new concept!


  • Say Uncle has taken over the space formerly occupied by Aarde at 10184 104 Street, and is aiming for a May opening. The restaurant comes from some of the folks behind Sandwich and Sons (which, at one time, was actually housed at this location), and Chefs Andrew Cowan and Matt Phillips of Northern Chicken are involved in designing the small plates menu.
  • Mimi’s is a new pub-style restaurant that opened over the weekend in Greenfield, located at 11403 40 Avenue. The restaurant has been a long time coming, with a restrictive covenant having held up the process starting back in 2016.
  • Although news about Misoya Ramen’s forthcoming location was shared in February, it is now under construction at the Icon site at 10148 104 Street.
  • Century Mile Racetrack opened out near the airport in April, and features a restaurant fittingly called The Derby.
  • Thanks to Tamara for the heads-up about a new-to-me halal grocery and bakery called Baba that opened last summer. It is located at 9848 63 Avenue.
  • I had also missed the opening of Kusina Filipino, at 12329 97 Street, last summer.


Upcoming Events

  • Due to its popularity during Downtown Dining Week, Kitchen by Brad is hosting another Ukrainian pop-up lunch on May 18, 2019. Tickets are $18 and must be purchased in advance.
  • The Edmonton Craft Beer Festival runs May 31 – June 1, 2019 at the Edmonton Expo Centre. Admission starts at $20.
  • Diner on Blanc will be returning to Edmonton for the first time since 2016 (when it was held on 104 Street). If interested, mark your calendar for July 17, 2019, and join the waiting list. As per Diner en Blanc guidelines, the location is kept under wraps until attendees are notified the day of the event.


  • Graham found the flavours and execution of the food at Revel (under new Executive Chef Kunal Sawhney) to be exceptional.
  • Twyla comments on some inconsistencies at Chef Hung.
  • Crystal offers a pair of reviews on Die Pie and Hanjan.
  • There’s a new blog called Like Mother like Daughter, which chronicles the adventures of Monique and Ali. Their first post covers a trip to Destination Donuts and Formosa Bistro.

Local News

  • Graham reported that Chef Tony Krause left Revel to join Chartier.
  • Chef Doreen Prei will be returning to helm ZINC at the Art Gallery of Alberta as the Executive Chef in mid-may.
  • A Western Living columnist gripes about Edmonton’s poor showing in the recent Canada’s 100 Best list.
  • Liane published the first of her articles focusing on “walkable food-centric areas” on Chinatown.
  • Phil’s latest Fast Food webisode centres around a Venezuelan street food dish from the chef/owner of Avila Arepa.
  • Stephanie shared her experience at the recent Hokanson Chef in Residence luncheon at NAIT, led by Chef David Hawksworth.
  • The former Il Portico restaurant is finally being demolished, and will make way for a new downtown park.
  • In partnership with Travel Alberta, German-based FoodBoom put together a video featuring Chef Blair Lebsack butchering cuts of meat at RGE RD, demonstrating their food philosophy.
  • Beyond Meat products are now available at all Sobeys locations. The products have also been available for some time through SPUD.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • It’s time to gear up for the outdoor market season! Callingwood kicks things off on May 5, 2019, with the Thursday iteration of the 124 Street Grand Market (a public market) not far behind on May 9, 2019. Check out the full list of Alberta Approved Farmers’ Market list here.
  • On the topic of markets, some news out of the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market: City Market vendor Sundog Organic will be taking over for August Organics, and long-time vendor Maru Ukrainian Food had her last day after 16 years over the weekend.
  • Northlands is currently recruiting youth for their free Beekeeping Project.

What I Ate

  • Mack and I rarely get out for meals on our own any more, so it was a treat to partake in brunch at Baijiu’s new monthly pop-up. There was a solid crowd lined up out the door before the 11am start, so although this was just their second pop-up, word has clearly gotten out! The vibe is similar to The Common’s Hip Hop Brunches, with a DJ and boozy drinks for those inclined. The menu is brief, but with enough variety for most groups. We enjoyed the bao (a must order when at Baijiu), but the gem of our meal was the very unique eggs benny spring roll, with two perfectly soft poached eggs and Meuwly’s ham wrapped in rice paper and fried, and served over crispy potatoes. Follow Baijiu on Instagram for the details on their next pop-up.


Eggs benny spring roll from Baijiu

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