Food Notes for October 19, 2020

City of Edmonton Extends Temporary Patio Program

In response to demand from the hospitality industry and the ongoing pandemic, the City of Edmonton has extended the temporary patio program until March 31, 2021.

However, in anticipation of snow clearing needs, patios will not be permitted to extend across sidewalks as pedestrians will no longer be able to use the curb lane as a detour.

This has impacted the plans for businesses such as Tiramisu Bistro, whose application to set up three heated igloos on the sidewalk was denied. Owner Seble Issac was frustrated with the decision:

“This is the only hope of keeping everyone employed and implementing COVID-19 restrictions. You can’t just tell people, ‘Put on your warm jackets, we’ll put up some lights and you go enjoy the winter.’ You cannot do that. You’ve got to create an experience and this is an experience I’m trying to create.”

Although pedestrian safety is the basis cited for the rejection of the proposal, it’s challenging not to believe the real reason is to preserve vehicular traffic flow. 124 Street from Jasper Avenue to 109 Avenue is identified as a Main Street: they are “pedestrian priority streets” that “entice people to linger on the street”. Coincidentally, on the Main Street front page, the opening photograph is of Tiramisu Bistro. While the photo is of the restaurant in warmer climes, the guidelines state that Main Streets are designed for all seasons.

In many ways, restaurants situated along a main thoroughfare will be disadvantaged in the colder months because of limitations to sidewalk expansion. It’s not surprising that two of the most popular cool-weather patios so far this year are Little Brick and Cafe Bicyclette, who are unencumbered by space due to their yard and courtyard access (and to their credit, heavy investment in heating implements). Will these regulations lead to closures of more businesses along main streets? Only time will tell.

COVID-19-related News

Openings

  • Bistro 99, a “European cafe and bar”, opened this week at 10504 99 Avenue.
  • There’s a new Tunisian restaurant called Golden Fork, located at 12118 90 Street.
  • Taste of Lebanon is now open in Old Strathcona at 10105 82 Avenue.
  • The folks behind the original Fat Franks have opened a food trailer called Dick’s Tater Ship at 10319 82 Avenue. They had planned to remain open as long as the weather cooperated, but the recent temperature dip has led to an early closure.

Upcoming Events

  • Back in March, Downtown Dining Week was cut short due to the pandemic. The Downtown Business Association is relaunching the showcase from October 28 – November 8, 2020 to “reignite hope in Downtown’s hospitality scene.” The 26 participating restaurants are offering fixed price menus of $20 lunch/brunch and $35 or $50 dinners.
  • Jason Foster is returning to the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension to host a course called Brewed in Alberta: Exploring Alberta’s Craft Beer Industry (the previous sessions offered over the summer sold out). The 4-week sessions begin November 3 or 4, 2020. Course registration costs $75, plus $100 for 16 beers to be discussed.
  • Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is hosting a weekend Swine & Dine, featuring cooking demonstrations from several Edmonton-based chefs, including RGE RD’s Blair Lebsack and Edgar Gutierrez from Kanto 98 St.

Local News

  • CTV featured the story behind BIPOC and queer-friendly cafe Intent Coffee, located in Southgate Centre.
  • Both Sugared and Spiced and Cartago debuted new online ordering systems this month. It’s great to see more local businesses investing in their online systems.
  • Global checked in with Chef Medi Tabtoub of Vivo Ristorante about their pandemic pivots and fall menu changes.
  • Jack’s Burger Shack pulled out of joining the Stadium Yards development after the start of the pandemic.
  • Uber Eats has launched liquor delivery from local liquor stores in Edmonton and Calgary.
  • A new food bank has opened that supports military veterans and their families.

What I Ate

  • Our Friday night take-out from King Noodle House satisfied my weeks-long craving for Bun Bo Hue.

King Noodle House

Takeout spread from King Noodle House

  • We ordered some cinnamon buns from TYP TOP Bakery over the weekend. It’s a social enterprise run by the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton that provides paid work experience to at-risk youth. Led by Chef Kelsey Johnson (of Cafe Linnea), they offer breads and sweet treats. We were impressed with the size and quality of the buns (not too sweet, and super fluffy!), and we’d definitely order them again!

Typ Top Bakery

Cinnamon buns from TYP TOP Bakery

  • We’re glad we pulled out our potatoes last weekend, given how quickly the temperatures have fallen this month. It was another good season at Alex Decoteau Community Garden; Emily certainly had her fill of tomatoes this year. Until spring!

Alex Decoteau Garden

With our final harvest at Alex Decoteau Community Garden

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