Local Restaurants Launch “Save Hospitality” Campaign
On the heels of the national Save Hospitality campaign launched back in March, local entrepreneurs Katy Ingraham (of Cartago) and Kris Harvey (of Chvrch of John) have spearheaded Save Edmonton Hospitality, under the banner of the Edmonton Independent Hospitality Community.
There is no question that the hospitality industry has taken a massive hit; a recently released Restaurants Canada report states that 95,000 food service jobs were lost in Alberta. Signatories so far represent nearly 60 businesses in the Edmonton area, and their asks include suspension of payments, rent, and one-time cash payments to provide financial stability.
A few of the same signatories also supported the Restaurant Realities campaign launched by Restaurants Canada in February 2019, which called for, among other things, a rollback of benefits to workers, and a reduction of the minimum wage for youth workers.
In other COVID-19-related news:
- While many restaurants that remain open have pivoted to serve comfort food, others have chosen to continue offering refined dishes. These include The Marc, Nineteen XIX, Sabor, Sofra, Tzin, all offering curb-side pick-up.
- On that note, those restaurants, in addition to many others, have chosen to refrain from listing with third-party delivery apps like Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats. Chef Paul Shufelt of Workshop Eatery and Woodshed Burgers took to social media last week to provide information about the significant cost for restaurants to use the apps.
- Lists continue to circulate to provide diners with accessible information about local restaurants to support, including one featuring establishments in and around Chinatown, another focused on Latino restaurants, a list put together by The Tomato, and a list compiled by Avenue of brewers and distilleries that deliver.
- Unfortunately, Woodwork and Bar Clementine had to cease selling their cocktails via pick-up and delivery. They’re hoping AGLC may reconsider. Perhaps to get around their requirements, DOSC has opted to sell cocktail kits instead for people to create drinks at home.
- Many local restaurants are selling #HereForGood t-shirts that will help them during these hard times, including the High Level Diner and Northern Chicken.
- Steve and Dan’s, a familiar BC fruit vendor at many local markets, has launched a grocery delivery service available in the Edmonton area. In addition to offering their own products, they will also deliver items from Lacombe Fresh Vegetables and Effing Seafoods, among others.
- Shojo Izakaya is the latest to offer a 25% discount to Alberta Health Services workers, while Tiffin’s southside locations are offering free food to long-haul truck drivers until April 15.
- Many more companies have pivoted to provide seniors and immunocompromised individuals with free grocery delivery services during the pandemic, including Men with Kilts and the Wolfe Automotive Group.
- High Dough, Detroit-style pizza from the kitchen of Three Boars, is now available through pick-up.
- Next week, Chef Daniel Costa will be offering “classic New Jersey/Italian cuisine” through his new initiative Zios on Uber Eats.
- Events have started to come back online, so to speak – #EatWithMeYEG is a virtual lunch club that has hosted three online gatherings so far to connect people and support local businesses at the same time. They have focused on Chinatown, Old Strathcona, and Downtown in previous events, while their upcoming event on April 8, 2020 will highlight many different communities.
- Green Drinks will be hosting their Food and Climate Change panel online on April 8, 2020. The event is free.
- Campio will be hosting their beer club virtually on April 9, 2020, leading a tasting of 5 different Alberta beers.
- Graham Hicks caused a firestorm online last week with his negative review of Saigon Cuisine, with some feeling that the current struggle of the hospitality industry wasn’t appreciated. The review was subsequently taken down that same day.
- Avenue paid a visit to Dorinku Osaka, pre-pandemic, of course. Though the in-person experience is indefinitely suspended, Dorinku, along with DOSC, Japonais, and Seoul Fried Chicken will be offering curated combinations that can be pre-ordered from all of the restaurants. The menus will be launching on April 9 for delivery starting April 12.
- People looking for take-out Easter dinners have a lot of choices: Smokehouse BBQ is serving up Easter with a Southern twist, more traditional options from Central Social Hall, High Level Diner, Sandy View Farms, Simply Supper, and Woodwork/Bar Clementine. Pre-orders are necessary.
- A 38 year old woman was charged with arson in relation to a fire that destroyed the Chinatown location of the Italian Bakery. Their other location in Beverly had to rebuilt after a fire in 2016; the owners are not certain they can go through that again.
- There seems to be a bread baking renaissance as people embrace the time they have and observe self-isolation protocols. Sourdough starters definitely help with this, and RGE RD has a limited number of breadmakers’ starter kits for sale this week. Alternatively, the chair of the Baking and Pastry Arts program at NAIT provided information on how to make a sourdough starter from scratch.
Urban Agriculture and Farming
- The Chatsworth Farm in Vermillion (two hours east of Edmonton) is offering virtual tours of their farm.
What I Ate
- We’ve been avoiding third-party apps in favour of dealing directly with restaurants, recognizing that as a result, more of the profit goes towards these small business owners to help them during these tough times. It might be a little less seamless for the diner, but I think the outcome and food choices make it worthwhile! One example is our take-out dinner from King Noodle House, one of my favourites in the city for pho. They’re now offering take-out from Wednesday to Sunday. We had to bring out or mixing bowls to accommodate all of the broth for the bun bo Hue we ordered, and Emily devoured the spring rolls!
Our King Noodle House order
- We also ordered from Rosewood Foods over the weekend. I loved their use of spices in their chicken shawarma bowl (it was also big enough for a full lunch portion the next day), and their biscuits are the stuff dreams are made of. Emily couldn’t get enough!
Biscuits from Rosewood Foods with rhubarb jam and honey butter