Pandemic Spurs Innovation from Local Food and Restaurant Businesses
It’s only been one week since the restaurant and hospitality scene really started to change after social distancing measures were put into effect, but the speed at which some businesses have adapted to embrace this new reality is astonishing.
Last week, many restaurants shuttered their dining rooms to focus only on take-out and delivery. This number has continued to grow (this handy spreadsheet by Vinson Luong is being updated with over 200 local food and drink-related businesses offering pick-up or delivery). It is worth remembering that while many local restaurants are available through apps like Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats, their cut involves a significant portion of the total. When possible, consider ordering and picking up directly from the restaurant, or, choose a restaurant that is offering in-house delivery (we ordered from Filistix on Friday and co-owner Ariel paid us a visit himself!).
This week, many restaurants have adjusted their menus to accommodate the demand from diners for more heat and serve-style dishes, which may work better for those looking to stock up their fridges and freezers. Some examples include Northern Chicken and Love Pizza’s take and bake pizzas, take and bake goods from Sugared and Spiced, Highlands Golf Course and Green Onion Cake Man’s frozen meals, RGE RD, Workshop Eatery, Drift Food Truck, and Get Cooking’s comfort food, and Corso 32’s heat and assemble Italian meals.
People are also seeking out grocery delivery services in light of minimizing contact with others, and several local options are now available. Bountiful Farmers’ Market is now offering delivery, as is the Italian Centre (neither have a comprehensive catalogue to order from, however, so it’d be difficult for non-regular shoppers to navigate). In addition, Meuwly’s has put together grocery boxes featuring their charcuterie, meats, and preserves, Uproot Food Collective offers collections of various local products, including Honest Dumplings, South Island Meat Co., and Boocha, and Good Goods Co. focuses on “hyper local sustainable small businesses” such as Herbologie, Roasti Coffee, Gruger Farms, and Laneway Bakery.
In this stressful and uncertain time, it’s also great to see some good news stories being shared. Many local restaurants and hotels donated excess food to the Edmonton Food Bank, and distillers like Strathcona Spirits and Black Diamond Distillery are making hand sanitizer and distributing them for free to those in need. Love Pizza also started selling $5 support pizzas, which goes towards the cost of making and delivering pizzas for those on the front lines of the pandemic. After just two days, over 1,000 pizzas were purchased, and deliveries have since been made to hospitals, a fire/ambulance station, and the Youth Empowerment and Support Services. Keep it up, Edmonton!
- The Almanac hopes to upgrade to a bigger location by April in the former Holy Roller space. The renamed restaurant will be called Boxer – Alberta Kitchen and Bar.
- It sounds like a “European cafe and wine bar” is in the works for the vacated Starbucks space at 10504 99 Avenue.
- Graham Hicks rates the burgers at Royale (currently temporarily closed) to be among the best in the city.
- Chef Ben Staley of Restaurant Yarrow has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise $250,000 for restaurant workers laid off because of current conditions.
- Linda has a great post featuring 100 local businesses you can support – and a fun spin the wheel mechanism to play with!
- Confetti Sweets is offering sugar cookies with pandemic-related messages.
- Sharman put together a gluten-free guide for eats on 124 Street.
- Is it safe to eat take-out in this pandemic? All your food safety questions answered, by Serious Eats.
Urban Agriculture and Farming
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Salisbury Farmers’ Market in Sherwood Park has closed until further notice.
- The Journal featured a story on Greens Eggs and Ham farm, and their desire to gain ground and build on their operations again.
What I Ate
- As mentioned above, we ordered in from Filistix (they’re offering free deliveries for orders over $50). We especially enjoyed the shrimp fried rice with bagoong and the mee goreng – we even had enough leftovers for lunch the next day!
Our order from Filistix