The Backyard and #Eat124StBingo Highlight Small Businesses
The drive to support local continues, and two new initiatives seek to highlight small businesses.
The Backyard, established in a vacant lot at 10004 103A Avenue, seeks to create a new gathering space Downtown. Using art, lighting, and seating to create a sense of place, the centrepiece of The Backyard are its repurposed sea cans that can operate as a bar, pop-up kiosk, and washrooms. During the pandemic, the patio will be able to accommodate up to 150 people.
“The Backyard believes that supporting local is more than a statement,” said Peter Stetsko, owner & operations manager of The Backyard. “It’s a lifestyle.”
They’ve partnered with a number of local food and drink providers to ensure patrons shop small. “There will be up to two food trucks on site when The Backyard is open,” said Stetsko. “To name a few, local favorites such as Coast Lunchbox, Sosyal Scoops, Drift, Casa 12 Doce, Smokehouse BBQ, and Laker Coffee will be onsite this summer.”
The Backyard’s food and snack menu, sold out of one of the retrofitted sea cans, also features local purveyors. “[We’ve] partnered with Toast Culture and Coast Lunchbox to provide a small roster of salads, sandwiches and wraps, which are only available at The Backyard,” said Stetsko. “In addition, we’ve curated our favourite snack items such as Caramunchies, Zwick’s pretzels, and chips and salsa from La Patrona restaurant in Sherwood Park to sell at The Backyard.”
Alcoholic beverages will be sourced from Sea Change and Strathcona Spirits, and Stetsko promises a seasonal cocktail program.
While no official opening date has been announced yet, Stestko is hopeful for a late May or early June launch.
Over on 124 Street, Meuwly’s and the 124 Grand Market are spearheading a campaign to support neighbouring businesses. Inspired by a similar initiative led by Empire Provisions in Calgary, #Eat124StBingo seeks to encourage social media shares for a chance to win a grand prize valued at over $1,000.
Until June 15, 2021, people are encouraged to complete as many bingo squares as possible, with each post or tagged story earning one entry into the prize draw. Those who complete a bingo line will be provided with a small prize pack until supplies last, which could include gift cards, packaged food products, and branded apparel.
To put together the list of businesses, Peter Keith, the general manager of Meuwly’s, reached out to 30 businesses in total, and included the first fifteen respondents (the sixteenth being Meuwly’s). “The goal was to include a nice mix of different types of food businesses from all over the neighborhood, and I definitely tried to reach out to some of the smaller family run businesses that have less of a digital presence,” said Keith. He hasn’t ruled out organizing a second round of bingo later in the year, but is also hopeful the 124 Street Business Association could take that on.
While #Eat124StBingo just launched over the weekend, Keith shared that about five people have already completed a bingo line. “I am hoping we can get a few hundred entries and twenty or thirty ‘bingo’ scores over the next month,” said Keith.
Like all businesses, Meuwly’s has been impacted by the pandemic, related to decreased foot traffic and less restaurant wholesale orders. However, they’ve also made some successful shifts. “We’ve made some great progress on our e-commerce presence and other special packages like the meat club, our D.I.Y. charcuterie kits, and our partnership with Art of Charcuterie,” said Keith.
He is optimistic that this initiative will spotlight the 124 Street food community in this challenging time. “It’s also just a fun morale booster for all of us as small business owners to see the excitement from our audience online,” said Keith.
- On the heels of Northern Chicken’s vaccine discount, Woodshed Burgers entered the fray, offering a free side with the purchase of a burger.
- DOSC has debuted heat-and-serve Bentos to go, and for those seeking brunch picnics, brunch dishes packed into bento boxes.
- Mae’s Kitchen, also a restaurant in Mirror, Alberta (home to the controversial Whistle Stop Cafe), has been quietly following all public health restrictions.
- The service industry has been hit with significant job losses, though Filistix believes there will be “some sort of renaissance” within the food and restaurant industry” when restrictions lift.
- Restaurants Canada is lobbying for a sector-specific support package of rent and wage subsidies.
- Did you know Fox Burger has a food truck? They’re set up at Root 107 until Tuesday, May 18.
- Soho, a new restaurant that pays homage to 1970s New York, will open at Jasper Avenue and 114 Street.
- Sharon offers a photolog of the dishes she’s tried at Damso Izakaya.
- Local BBQ experts Motley Que’s Sticky Fixx sauce was recently named the best in the world at the American Royal World’s Series of Barbecue in Kansas City.
- CBC’s latest Best Dishes column focuses on the burger pivot The Local Omnivore was forced to make in the pandemic.
- Also on CBC, Jason Foster profiled Spruce Grove’s first brewery, Talking Dog Brewing.
- Linda appeared on a Cityline segment with ideas for an eco and pandemic-friendly BBQ, and featured products from RGE RD, Meuwly’s, and El Beso.
- The Journal’s Food Notes covers the backstory behind Groove by Fleisch, and the brunch boxes available at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden.
- Northern Chicken’s foundation of diversity and inclusion and community initiatives are highlighted in St. Albert Today.
- The 124 Street Grand Market celebrates a decade in operation this year.
- To Do Canada has a listicle of businesses offering picnic-perfect meals.
- DailyHive offers a listicle of bars and restaurants offering cocktail kits.
- Porkapalooza has been postponed until August 14-15, 2021.
- Meals on Wheels is spearheading YEG Hot Dog Fest, running for the month of August. Participating restaurants will be putting their dogs forward to compete for the titles of Edmonton’s Top Dog, Wackiest Dogs, and Relished Dog. $1.50 from each weenie sold will go towards Meals on Wheels.
- Edmonton company Nabati Foods opened their new facility in the city to expand their plant-based product capacity.
- Beyond Meat will be available at Edmonton locations of Pizza Hut.
What I Ate
- I had another breakfast date with Mack last week and enjoyed one of the best deals in #yegdt – the egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich from A Bite of Brazil (on their delicious cheese bread, no less), is a steal at under $5! It was super filling, and the service is always so friendly. The sandwich is available until 11am on weekdays and all day on weekends.
Breakfast sandwich from A Bite of Brazil
- Winner, winner, chicken dinner: on Friday, we had the fried chicken feast from Rosewood Foods and it was even better than I expected. We loved the crispy, juicy lemon and thyme buttermilk chicken, salsa verde kale salad, and scallion buttermilk biscuits (we saved Mack’s favourite carrot cakes for later). We added a side of potatoes for Emily, who polished off more than her share. We’ll definitely be ordering this again!
Fried chicken dinner from Rosewood Foods