Food Notes for November 1, 2021

Jack’s Burger Shack to Open Location Downtown

St. Albert eatery Jack’s Burger Shack announced plans to open its second location, in Downtown Edmonton at Jasper Avenue and 104 Street.

This expansion is a slight shift from Jack’s pre-pandemic plans. Back in February 2020, Jack’s was primed to become the anchor commercial tenant in Rohit’s Stadium Yards project, but then COVID-19 shut everything down. “I wanted to put it on hold,” said Jack’s owner Tu Le. “I had to put all our energy in the [existing] restaurant to get the take out program air tight, so I didn’t have time to open a new restaurant. I think they got tired of waiting and asking.”

Jack’s, like all other hospitality businesses, had to adapt when in-person dining was halted in March 2020. “When we created Jack’s, I never thought people would take our food to go,” said Le. “[Customers are] watching us cook, and we’re chatting with people sitting at the bar. But everything that made us a quaint neighbourhood place changed. If you look at our numbers in 2019, 35% of our business was take-out. We had to bump it to 100%.”

Le says they were fortunate that the community has to support Jack’s in spite of the changes, including still not offering dine-in services at their original location. “People embraced our take-out program,” said Le. “Burgers and fries are geared towards take-out, and we’re lucky that we’re in St. Albert and have a strong following.”

Le also credits their forthcoming move into Downtown to “pure luck”. When a real estate broker made him aware that the former Oodle Noodle location was available, Le’s low-ball offer was, to his surprise, accepted by the landlord. “With the cost being that low, if we can do a little bit of take-out and [offer indoor dining] with the vaccine passport and more space [than the St. Albert location], then we can make a go of it,” said Le. “It’s still a risk with the pandemic and restrictions, but we know more now than we did, so I feel more confident opening a place now.”

Le hopes the new shop will be open in 4-6 weeks, and promises that the menu and prices will mirror the original restaurant. The plan is to be open five days a week. “It will be a place where you can get a good quality meal that is quick and affordable, and a friendly place where you can have a chat with one of the staff,” said Le. “I can’t really do that in St. Albert [right now], but with a little more space we can get back to that and get to know everybody [in the neighbourhood]. I miss that in St. Albert.”

COVID-19-related News

  • At least 14 businesses in the province were issued closure orders or had their permits suspended due to failure to comply with the restrictions exemption program.
  • On October 25, 2021, customers entering businesses participating in the restrictions exemption program must have proof of two doses of a two-dose series of vaccines. Some restaurants interviewed say it contributes to guests feeling safer.
  • District 102’s Craft Cafe (located at the top floor of Edmonton City Centre Mall) has now re-opened.
  • District Cafe is gearing up to re-open in “the coming weeks”, and they will also continue to sling Young & Restless Pizza in the evenings.

Openings

  • Stanhope Eatery and Bar opened up back in August at 4208 Calgary Trail (formerly a Sorrentino’s location).
  • California Pizza Kitchen has broken ground for its first Canadian location. It will be built in the Currents of Windermere. It is expected to open next year.

Closures

Upcoming Events

  • Jasper Park Lodge is hosting a new event called A Weekend With…featuring Duchess’s Giselle Corteau. The event runs November 5-7, 2021 and starts at $749 per might, based on double occupancy.
  • Filistix’s Kamayan Feast returns on November 6, 2021. They will have two seatings but will also offer take-out.
  • The Northern Light Dining Experience will take place at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden from November 27, 2021 – January 9, 2022. Diners will enjoy their meals in domes amidst the garden’s Luminaria fixtures. Tickets are $125 per person and $50 for children aged 3-12.

Local News

What I Ate

I’m on vacation next week, so I won’t be posting Food Notes on November 8. Your regularly scheduled update will return on November 15 – see you then!

  • I met up with Linda last week for an outdoor lunch at The Hallway Cafe. It’s always great to support their program, which offers at-risk youth with the opportunity to learn hospitality skills through a restaurant setting. The half donair pizza was satisfying, and paired nicely with a hot soup to sip outside.
  • Hallway Cafe

Half donair pizza and soup of the day

  • I was lucky enough to be gifted an advent calendar from Evoolution. It’s great to see so many local businesses creating their own advent calendars. Evoolution’s first-ever calendar includes twenty-four 15mL oils, vinegars, blends, and sea salts, with short recipe videos that will be posted each day of the calendar to make it more interactive. It would make a beautiful gift, with artist Jason Carter lending his talents to the cover. The calendar retails for $59.95 and will be available after November 15.
  • Evoolution

Evoolution advent calendar

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