Food Notes for November 16, 2020

Restaurants Voluntarily Close Dine-In Services

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in alarming numbers, several Edmonton restaurants have proactively decided to close dine-in services.

Last week, NongBu, Fleish, Cartago and Northern Chicken transitioned to take-out and delivery only. Dagu Rice Noodle had also closed their dining room in late October. On social media, Fleish shared the following statement:

This is not a decision we made lightly, and not one we’re making strictly out of the goodness of our heart. As employers and responsible citizens of our city, we feel it’s important to stand up for our people and what we feel is the right thing to do…But we feel this is larger than us and it’s the responsibility of our officials to listen to the experts on the front lines – physicians, nurses, and healthcare workers who are calling for a strict, short shutdown to sharply reduce our COVID numbers and the current spread.

Some of the above restaurants made the decisions to close dine-in services even before the Alberta Government announced targeted public health measures on November 12, effective from November 13-27, 2020. Restaurants and pubs will be required to stop liquor sales by 10pm and close by 11pm. This falls short of the drastic “circuit-breaker” lockdown recommended by more than 400 Alberta physicians that would include a temporary ban on indoor dining, among other things.

Although Premier Kenney continues to deny the connection between COVID-19 transmission and indoor dining, recent American studies would say otherwise. In September, a U.S. Centres for Disease Control study suggested those who tested positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant than those who tested negative. And last week, a study published in Nature indicated that restaurants were four times riskier for COVID-19 transmission than gyms and coffee shops.

Given the significant proportion of cases that cannot be traced to origin, Premier Kenney’s delay of imposing stricter measures is baffling. It also allows the myth of safe indoor dining to continue to be propagated, as was the case today. In an interview with the Edmonton Journal, Steven Sachse, the general manager of MKT said:

“The overall feeling kind of in the restaurant industry is that we’re just such an easy target, when the data does not show that restaurants are the cause of these outbreaks.”

Restaurants are doing their best under incredibly challenging circumstances, and operating and abiding by current public health guidelines. But what if the guidelines are failing to protect the public?

COVID-19-related News

  • Staff at Meat and Pip have tested positive for COVID-19, so they have chosen to voluntarily close. In addition, as a precautionary measure, sister business The Next Act has also temporarily closed.
  • I was a guest on last week’s episode of Speaking Municipally, where I referenced some of the COVID-19 infection studies mentioned above.

Openings

Closures

  • Curry Vibes at 10827 Jasper Avenue is making way for a Queen Donair.

Upcoming Events

Local News

  • Linda’s second iteration of #AdoptAShopYEG runs November 13-22, 2020, and locals have already claimed all 200 sign-up spots, committing to collectively spend $12,000 at 64 small businesses across the city!
  • Social enterprise Edmonton Eats has launched Holiday Cultural Boxes that feature family recipes from cultural hosts.
  • Kari Skelton has a list of the best winter patios in Edmonton.
  • Chef Jan Trittenbach (formerly of Lyon and Solstice) has landed at Boxer.
  • Phil Wilson began a new column on Radio Active today that focuses on the best dishes in Edmonton. First up: Thai cuisine at Siam Thai Kitchen (15883 116 Avenue).
  • Colleen’s Chocolates has started an ATB BoostR campaign in the hopes of crowdfunding $15,000 towards business expansion.
  • Alberta Food Tours has launched an Alberta Cares Package containing curated Alberta-made products. A portion of each $79 will also go towards programs that support vulnerable youth.
  • To celebrate his tenth birthday, a young hockey fan was hoping to have pizzas donated in his name to Boyle Street Community Services. He’s already exceeded his goal of 100 pizzas!
  • AGLC is again recognizing bars that “take your fun and safety seriously”, and are currently accepting votes for the People’s Choice Category in Edmonton.

What I Ate

  • We enjoyed one last Downtown Dining Week meal on Friday, this time from Dagu Rice Noodle. As mentioned above, they’ve been closed to dine-in services since late October. Their containers seemed tailor-made for their noodle soups, and the salted crispy chicken was tasty (Emily was a fan!).

Dagu Rice Noodle

Take-out from Dagu Rice Noodle

  • We made the best decision this weekend to order some treats from Sugared and Spiced (their online system makes things a cinch!). Their brownies are so good.

Sugared and Spiced

Brownie from Sugared and Spiced

  • Bistro 99 is a great addition to #yegdt, especially when it’s a stone’s throw from the playground at Dick Mather Park. We also enjoyed their sweet liege waffles, dipped in chocolate.

Bistro 99

Coffee from Bistro 99

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