News of Incoming American Chain Disheartens Local Business Owners
On January 13, 2022, it was announced that American chain restaurant P.F. Chang’s would be opening their first Alberta location in Edmonton later this year. To be located in the Currents of Windermere, this would be the chain’s third location in Canada, with existing operations in Montreal and Winnipeg.
Predictably, as has occurred when other international brands enter the Edmonton market for the first time, every media outlet in Edmonton released a story about the forthcoming P.F. Chang’s. At a time when local businesses are challenged because of an unrelenting pandemic with no end in sight, it was especially disheartening to the owners of small establishments.
“The only thing more depressing than trying to maintain your small independent biz during a pandemic is doing it while watching everyone & their dog get a raging hardon for yet another garbage US chain coming to town to serve you bowls of overpriced starch & commodity meat.” – Paul Shufelt, of Workshop Eatery, Woodshed Burgers, and The Greenhouse
“Watching a few more local restaurants close their doors. We are now in the “it’s not worth it” phase. I fear we are entering the death of the small business (under $1 million). When you buy yourself a job and take home all the pressures, unless your plan is to scale…..” – Jimmy Shewchuk, of Prairie Catering, Say Uncle, and May
“If it’s not one thing, it’s another…If you think I’m heartless or driven by profit that I express frustration, you’re mistaken. I’m speaking from a position of survival. And we will not unless this entire situation changes…like, now. We will continue to do what’s necessary to get us to the next checkpoint. We will continue to fight for the survival of our business. We will continue to serve our loyal customers. But fatigue is definitely setting in. And we’re getting tired.” Ariel del Rosario, of Filistix
“Whether or not they’re type of restaurant you personally enjoy, we can all agree that large multinational chains can afford their own advertising. Let’s try to offer more free media coverage to the openings/stories of small independents that make our community vibrant!” – Peter Keith, of Meuwly’s
June’s Delicatessen was the latest local business to announce their closure last week, after many more shuttered their doors in 2021.
- Bro’kin Yolk has voluntarily reduced the capacity at their locations (including their Edmonton restaurant) to 50% capacity.
- The Omicron variant has added complications to the already stressed hospitality community.
- Arcadia has re-opened for dine-in service.
- Ayco Cafe will be opening downtown at 10551 Jasper Avenue on January 19, 2022.
- Honey Jam, which serves katsu & udon opened on January 14, 2022. They are located at 8130 Gateway Blvd.
- Fuzed Kitchen + Bar is now open at 2335 111 Street (formerly a Brewster’s location).
- Chinatown Dining Week continues until January 23, 2022, with $10 and $18 specials offered at 18 participating businesses.
- Three Foodies at the 5th Street Food Hall is hosting a 3-course Burns Supper on January 25, 2022, for $50 a person.
- I was so sorry to hear about the passing of Adrienne Pan today. She was an ardent supporter of local food, and Chinatown Dining Week could always count on her to help us feature some of the small businesses in our event. This is such a loss for our community – Rest in Peace, Adrienne. Twyla Campbell shared her own memories of Adrienne, as well as some of her favourite restaurants.
- Roasti has decided to call it a snow day tomorrow and proactively keep both cafes closed on January 18, 2022.
- Did you know that two ghost kitchens offering sushi and Thai food operate out of the Royal Pizza located in the Hys Centre?
- A Bite of Brazil is hosting their own Soup Festival featuring all gluten-friendly soups.
- Remedy’s Southgate location is back up and running; their Jasper Avenue cafe is currently under repair.
- Phil’s recent Best Dish column highlighted bakery Sugared and Spiced.
- Edify checks out the Maria’s take on Northern Mexican cuisine.
- Alberta Food Tours highlights their top five vegetarian restaurants in Edmonton.
- CBC profiled cheesemaker Aditya Raghavan of Fleur Jaune.
- The Mawji Centre at NAIT hosted Peter Keith of Mewly’s to discuss their minimum viable product that eventually led to their brick and mortar shop.
- MilkCrate chef Steve Brochu and his wife Lourdes just finished cooking through a second plant-based book.
What I Ate
- Our first (of many) Chinatown Dining Week meals over the weekend involved pho from King Noodle House. It’s such a great deal for $18: large pho, spring rolls, grilled pork balls, and a drink!
King Noodle House Chinatown Dining Week special
- Mack thinks we’ve created a bubble tea monster in Emily! She tore through a majority of the two fresh fruit bubble teas we picked up from Tea Bar Cafe. They’re offering an amazing $10 Chinatown Dining Week special featuring a bubble tea + a bubble waffle.
Bubble tea from Tea Bar Cafe
- We followed that up with a Chinatown Dining Week meal from Syphay, who never disappoints! I love their pad Thai!
Syphay Chinatown Dining Week special
- Any day with Brio is a good day – I had been missing their Prairie loaf terribly. If you haven’t tried it already – their pre-order service is so convenient; it means you not only get to skip the line, but also means you don’t necessarily have to stop inside the shop if you prefer not to.
Goodies from Brio
- We also stopped by the Green Onion Cake Man this weekend after taking in the Deep Freeze festivities on 118 Avenue. There’s nothing like a salty green onion cake right off the griddle!
Green onion cakes from Green Onion Cake Man