Food Notes for March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Precautions Impacting Local Restaurants

The precautions arising from the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Alberta are significantly impacting the food and hospitality industry.

Last week, Alberta Health Services implemented restrictions on mass gatherings, which led to the postponement or cancellation of a number of food-related events, including Avenue Magazine’s annual Best Restaurants evening and remaining 6 days of Downtown Dining Week.

This week, in an effort to support social distancing measures, recreation centres, libraries, and some local attractions closed to the public, with schools and post-secondary institutions following shortly, closing to students. While there isn’t yet an outright ban on restaurants and bars in Alberta, there is data showing that behaviours have changed. OpenTable released information that shows that over the last weekend in Edmonton, the number of seated diners at their restaurants were down more than 40% compared to the same weekend one year ago.

As a result, many businesses have begun shifting their business models to accommodate people choosing to stay home. Some establishments, including Otto, Love Pizza, Prairie Noodle, and Chartier, have closed their dining rooms entirely, opting for take-out or delivery orders only. Other restaurants who traditionally haven’t promoted or offered take-out, have started doing so, such as Nineteen and Corso 32.

Lastly, there are restaurants that have elected to close temporarily, including Royale, Wildfred’s, Huma, and King Noodle House.

For those out there looking for ways to support the industry in these uncertain times, Linda Hoang wrote a great post outlining ways to do so.

Openings

  • Tokeo Station (10009 101A Avenue) has been replaced by Ra Bar, which describes itself as a “Japanese inspired lounge and restaurant”.
  • The Cabin is now open, in the space formerly occupied by Urban Tavern (11606 Jasper Avenue). Because of COVID-19 precautions they are currently limiting occupancy to 50 patrons.

Closures

Reviews

Local News

  • Some upcoming craft markets were cancelled because of the COVID-19 precautions; as a response, Colleen’s Chocolates put together some “survival boxes” containing items from several local vendors for delivery.
  • Phil shared his top three favourites after partaking in a hot chocolate crawl: Sweet Lollapalooza, Cococo, and Cafe Sole.

What I Ate

  • As mentioned above, Downtown Dining Week has since been cancelled. But last Tuesday (it feels like a different era), Mack, Emily and I attended its kick-off at the Art Gallery of Alberta, and enjoyed, among other dishes, this delicious short rib and polenta from Braven. I’ll have to return some time in the future to order the full plate.

Braven

Short rib and polenta from Braven

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