New Initiatives Highlight Downtown and Old Strathcona Businesses
A couple of new initiatives launched recently to encourage diners to support local businesses in the Downtown and Old Strathcona areas.
Explore Edmonton has created the Downtown Dining Pass, a free mobile passport that currently provides discounts at 11 participating businesses. The pass launched on February 8, 2021, the same day in-person dining restrictions were relaxed, but both dine-in and take-out deals are available. The pass currently doesn’t have an expiry date, but because of its digital nature, deals can be updated by the restaurant at any time. Additional businesses may also be added.
Explore Edmonton Media Relations Manager Nancy Gordy shared that they wanted to curate a pass that wouldn’t overwhelm the consumer, hence the focus on Downtown businesses only at this time. “Many downtown restaurants have been hit hard by the pandemic, so we want to do all we can to help,” said Gordy. “We have been chatting about creating passes for other areas, businesses, and neighbourhoods as well.”
The Old Strathcona Business Association (OSBA) has spearheaded the Sweet Treats & Latte Festival in an effort to increase foot traffic into the neighbourhood. 13 businesses are offering either a treat or a hot drink from February 13 – March 14, 2021 for prices around $5.
The event was also created in light of the pandemic, says Jeff Samsonow, Marketing & Communications Coordinator with the OSBA. “This is a perfect grab-and-go [event], allowing folks to try new restaurants or support their favourites, while talking a walk on Whyte Avenue,” said Samsonow. “We’ve still got our winter lights up in McIntyre Park and Ice on Whyte begins this weekend too, so there’s lots to see while staying COVID-safe.”
The OSBA is also encouraging those sampling goods to submit their votes for the best treats and hot drinks for a chance to win gift cards.
- Many restaurants have confirmed that they are also not re-opening to in-person service, including Langano Skies, Otto, and The Local Omnivore. NongBu has also remained closed to dine-in since early November.
- An Edmonton aerosol specialist is concerned about increased virus transmission related to the return of indoor dining.
- Northern Chicken will not be opening for dine-in services in order to keep their staff safe.
- A video of a large group gathering at an Earls last week went viral, while some Oilers fans welcomed the opportunity to watch sports in a pub.
- Kaze Finest, serving up African cuisine, opened up on Alberta Avenue during the pandemic, and may have to permanently close due to the challenges of the last year.
- Brew + Bloom Cafe delayed their opening last year but have announced a grand opening to take place on February 26, 2020. They are located at 10550 115 Street.
- Pine & Dine is now open in the former RoseBowl Pizza space at 10111 117 Street. EDify has an early review.
- The Mill Craft Beer + Kitchen is now open in Fort Saskatchewan.
- The Downtown location of Swiss Chalet in Canterra Centre is now closed.
- Congratulation to the winners of Th3rd Wave’s annual awards recognizing cafes and coffee roasters, including The Colombian as coffee shop of the year and Take Care Cafe as the best new coffee shop of the year.
- Food trends seem to come and go at a more frenetic pace in the pandemic – the latest seem to be croffles (croissant waffles). Sharon has a guide of where to try them in Edmonton.
- I Heart Edmonton ranks Edmonton’s 15 best donair shops.
- Linda is back with her third iteration of #AdoptAShop, this time focusing on Downtown. Nominations for businesses to be included in the initiative will be accepted until February 16, 2021, and sign-ups for those interested in “adopting” businesses will be live February 18, 2021.
- YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson (aka MrBeast) has created a burger now available in Edmonton through ghost kitchens.
- Uproot Food Collective continues to expand the brands and products they carry.
- The fourth season of The Great Canadian Baking Show kicked off on Sunday, featuring Edmontonian Larry Harris. He spoke to Edmonton AM about his experience on the show. He was also profiled by the University of Alberta School of Business.
- Local startup CommerceOwl, just launched RecipeStack for those interested in sharing their recipes to build an audience – their tagline is #RecipesNotYourLifeStory.
- Fresh Routes, who hosts many mobile grocery stores across the city in food deserts and communities with vulnerable residents, is looking to crowdsource $20,000 to repair one of their trucks.
- A&W is now a Mealshare partner – the restaurant will donate a meal with every Mealshare item purchased.
Urban Agriculture and Farming
- Eat North shares the origin story behind Lakeside Farmstead’s cheeses.
- The Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market is recruiting a market manager.
What I Ate
- It was a strange Lunar New Year – our first without extended family. As a result, we decided to outsource the cooking, opting to order a special multi-course meal from Rosewood Foods. The five-spice chicken legs were outstanding (they know their chicken!), and I also really enjoyed the sticky rice with lapcheong and shiitake. Emily, as expected, couldn’t take her eyes off the citron-honey crullers.
Lunar New Year dinner from Rosewood
- Mack and I have never been big on Valentine’s Day, so the closest we got to celebrating was using it as an excuse to try a couple of single-serve cocktails from Tumbler & Rocks, picked up during our Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market run over the weekend.
Cheers from Tumbler & Rocks