Food Notes for October 4, 2021

Edmonton’s First Food Hall Opens This Week

JustCook Kitchens will open Edmonton’s first food hall on October 5, 2021 downtown. Announced back in January, the 5th St. Food Hall at 10344 105 Street experienced some delays, but the extra time has allowed the business to embrace change wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As JustCook Kitchens was still in the brainstorming stage when the pandemic hit, we were able to ensure we would take into account the many difficulties and restrictions COVID brought to light,” said Maëlle Piquée, JustCook’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We built our application and processes around both in-person and digital interactions, where take-out or delivery isn’t an afterthought by necessity, but core to our business model.”

JustCook diners will order through their independent app, whether they intend to enjoy their meal in-person in the dining room or for take-out or delivery. At this stage, Piquée anticipates an even split between in-person business and take-out/delivery.

When asked how the app will compete with prominent third-party delivery apps like Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats, Piquée believes JustCook offers something distinct. “We’re a vertically integrated market and food hall combined,” said Piquée. “We provide a holistic offering in our local community that is unique to JustCook and isn’t designed to take on delivery companies such as Skip or Uber Eats, but instead offer a new, different experience.”

The 5th St. Food Hall is home to four concepts. Backstairs Burger is co-led by Chef Levi Biddlecombe; Biddlecombe is most known for his former food truck Attila the HUNgry and restaurant Why Not? (the restaurant was destroyed in a fire in December 2020). HOM, which started as a series of pop-ups, offers South East Asian-inspired dishes. Seitan dishes up plant-based southern food including “chickun” and pizzas. Lastly, Three Foodies serves comfort food including poutine and donut bites.

Piquée shared that the vendors came together organically. “We weren’t really looking for any specific type of food or cuisine – outside of them being delicious and somewhat unique or innovative,” said Piquée. “The one thing we paid close attention to was not to have similar concepts within the same space, as we’re looking for the restaurants to build on each other, not compete against.”

In addition to the four restaurants, the 5th St. Food Hall also stocks products from local companies, including El Gringo, Bent Stick Brewery, and Annex. The products can be ordered through the JustCook app.

The 5th St. Food Hall will be open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am-9pm. Piquée is excited for Edmontonians to finally be able to experience JustCook Kitchens. “We want people to try something new, a food or product they haven’t had before,” said Piquée. “We know that once they’ve done it once, they will want to do it again.”

Openings

Closures

  • Madison’s Grill (along with Union Bank Inn) is currently closed, and is available as a leasing opportunity.

Upcoming Events

  • The Public’s St. Albert pop-up is now open in Breadlove at 46C St. Michael Street until October 15, 2021.
  • Beverly Dining Week returns from October 4-9, 2021, with special menus offered at 9 restaurants for between $10-20. Participating restaurants include Uncle Ed’s, Olde Beverly Cafe, Mumbai Dakar, and Italian Bakery.

Local News

What I Ate

  • We tried the new Green Ash Cafe on the weekend. It is a super-charming converted house in Bonnie Doon with great coffee and tasty cookies (Emily devoured her macaron). They’ve also shared that their entire staff have been double vaxxed and they check vax cards for everyone who enters, even for those just getting take-out!
  • Green Ash Cafe

Coffee from Green Ash Cafe

  • While running errands on the south side, we picked up dinner from Pind Punjab in Millwoods. Their chicken biryani hit the spot, and I’m always a sucker for mutter paneer.
  • Pind Punjab

Chicken biryani and butter chicken from Pind Punjab

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