Food Businesses Continue to Pivot During Pandemic
Food and hospitality establishments have continued to pivot their service models out of necessity. It is an unbelievably stressful and challenging time, and yet, many businesses have made the shift to adapt to changing regulations and preferences (all dine-in services were restricted as of March 27, 2020).
Last week, many restaurants had already implemented a change towards offering heat-and-serve meals. This trend has continued with additional businesses, including caterers like A Capella, and restaurants such as Amore Pasta, Shojo Izakaya, and Why Not. Other food businesses have worked towards undertaking delivery services to help manage social distancing mandates, including bakeries like Duchess and cafes like The Colombian. Even bars have been getting into the spirit – sister restaurants Woodwork and Bar Clementine have retooled their food and cocktail menu for pick-up and delivery.
There seems to be a thirst for lists as many consumers look for ways to support independent businesses: Things That Are Open offers a business directory, while Shop YEG tracks places that offer online sales and delivery, and Councillor Aaron Paquette posted a list of producers offering home delivery. And don’t forget about Vinson Luong’s spreadsheet that has since doubled to over 400 listed food and drink-related businesses listing take-out and delivery options. For fun, also consider Alberta Food Tours’ bingo card in support of local shops.
Recognizing that many people are cooking more in their homes during this period, Get Cooking will be leading virtual classes, beginning this week with a free Knife Skills class on March 31. Cindy Lazarenko has offered her cooking expertise for free to those looking for help cooking from one’s pantry or freezer. Lastly, Chef Steven Brochu (formerly of Chartier, currently of Milk Crate), has introduced “cyber cooking at home” – the chance to cook virtually alongside the chef on a video call, using groceries delivered to your home.
Even in these trying times, so many local businesses have been continued to give back to the community. Just a few more examples from the past week: Oodle Noodle donated 500 meals to clients of The Mustard Seed; Tiffin provided gift certificates to hospital workers; Remedy is offering free drinks to first responders and hospital staff; Analog Brewing is hosting a “nurse a pint” program that allows people to buy a beer for Alberta Health Services (AHS) staff; and Sunterra Market is offering a 25% discount to AHS staff on ready-made products.
- It’s only a temporary shift, Workshop Eatery announced that they have converted into a second location of Woodshed Burgers to handle food delivery requests south of the river.
- The kitchen of Three Boars will soon be offering Detroit Deep Dish through a venture called High Dough.
- Some will be ecstatic to hear that Jollibee’s drive-thru is now open.
- Pagolac’s Chinatown location closed on March 21, 2020 after over 30 years in operation.
- Graham tried Skip the Dishes for the first time, and ordered Nara Chicken for delivery.
- Chef Paul Shufelt (of Workshop Eatery and Woodshed Burgers) will be competing on the Food Network’s Firemasters, airing on April 23, 2020.
- RGE RD co-owners Blair Lebsack and Caitlin Fulton discussed the revamp of their business in light of the pandemic with Avenue Magazine.
- Love Pizza experienced a break-in and theft of some of their tablets over the weekend. This as they came off the heels of selling 2,300 “support pizzas” to donate to staff on the frontlines of the pandemic.
- Liane shared more details as to how the Italian Centre was able to shift to offer curbside pick-up and delivery.
- Earls is getting into the grocery game, and are offering pick-up of produce, dairy, and some household items from its restaurants.
- Due to the current risk, food donations are no longer accepted by Alberta health care workers.
- Alley Kat, which was sold to new owners earlier this year, has changed to selling their beer in cans.
- Sharman recapped her third visit to the Devour Food and Film Festival held at the Jasper Park Lodge every year.
- In light of current events, Kevin Kossowan is offering free access to the third season of his James Beard-nominated show, From the Wild. This deal is available until April 3.
- Some local companies, including A Capella and Blue Plate Diner, have signed onto a national campaign called Save Hospitality, which requests that the government implement some measures to help restaurants in this difficult period.
Urban Agriculture and Farming
- While the Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market remains open, they’ve pared down to just food vendors for the time being. The Old Strathcona and Bountiful Farmers’ Markets remain open as well.
- Alberta Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen discouraged people from hoarding food, assuring Albertans that the “supply chain is responding well”. On a similar note, the President of the Canadian National Millers Association indicated that the grain supply chain is fine, and hoarding flour is not necessary.
What I Ate
- While on a walk over the weekend, Mack and I pre-ordered chai from Remedy for pick-up. They’d already been using pre-order and pay app Click Dishes for some time; in many ways, businesses who had been on systems like Click Dishes or Ritual pre-pandemic have been able to adapt quicker to the changes.
Chai from Remedy
- One of the magical things about the world today is that your Toronto-based sister can surprise you with the delivery of a box from Bloom Cookie Co. to get you through this pandemic. Bloom currently offers delivery of their treats twice a week.
Box of Bloom Cookies