Pandemic Pivot High Dough Becomes Permanent Fixture
Pizza was never meant to be a long-term solution when High Dough was born in March 2020, said chef and co-owner Brayden Kozak.
“Transitioning to High Dough in the moment was a temporary plan while we weathered the storm of COVID, but that just never ended. Any chance of opening back up for dine-in just seemed so far that we kept rolling with High Dough. But we were happy with how quickly it took off, and we eventually wanted to look for a more suitable permanent location.”
Although the Three Boars space in Garneau has housed High Dough for two years, it hasn’t been ideal. The ovens at the restaurant weren’t meant for pizza, and as a result, the cook times were lengthy, and they often had to cap orders as a result. “We just couldn’t maximize our outputs at the Garneau location,” said Kozak.
After some shopping around, they settled on a space across from Strathcona High School, which in a previous life had been a commissary for local chain Royal Pizza. They installed high output ovens, and they have access to a larger garage door to easily receive sizable supply orders.
“It was necessary that this location could absorb the business from Garneau,” said Kozak. “We were really focused on this location being designed for high-volume delivery more than dine-in and pickup.”
As was the case with Garneau, the Strathcona branch offers counter service only, but the larger space made it possible to install four booths for seating. It will also sell pizza by the slice, but likely just at lunch. If all goes well, Kozak said, High Dough will open additional locations in the future, taking a page out of the playbook for Farrow, which he also co-owns.
The Garneau storefront will continue to operate as a High Dough for the time being, but not forever, Kozak shared.
“It is a highly underutilized restaurant space, and we want to get back into the groove to have a fully dine-in restaurant,” said Kozak. “But the High Dough concept doesn’t work in that space. The tables are small, and with the cook times on the pizza, who wants to sit there for 45 minutes to wait for pizza to show up?”
However, fans of Three Boars will be disappointed to learn that it will likely not return. “It’s probably going to be something else,” said Kozak. “For me personally, I’ve had two years to grieve the death of Three Boars. Three Boars had a time and a place, and the people who worked there made it what it was. To try and reopen that place from scratch doesn’t feel right.”
He doesn’t have a specific timeline in mind, but is hopeful that the shift will happen within the year.
At the very least, Kozak is looking forward to being able to interact with diners again soon.
“I miss hosting people. A large part of the job is creating an atmosphere that people want to come and enjoy. The bar and the patio was my favourite spot in Three Boars. It feels strange with no one in there.”
- Calgary-based PACT Coffee is now open at 10370 82 Avenue (formerly a Starbucks).
- High Dough’s second location in Strathcona, at 7341 104 Street, is now open.
- Yomie’s Yogurt, offering an “authentic natural yogurt drink”, is opening on April 9 at 10746 82 Avenue.
- American-based chain Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is opening in Edmonton on April 21, 2022 at 5125 Mullen Road.
- Sorrentino’s annual Garlic Festival celebrates its 30th year for the month of April, and returns with garlic cooking classes, wine dinners, and a special garlic-focused menu.
- The Century Grill concept (which closed many years ago) is taking over Hart’s Table on April 14, 2022.
- Chef Table Living will be hosting 118 Food Walk Tours from April 16-May 7, 2022. Tickets are $82.
- Congratulations to this year’s Western Living Foodies of the Year. Edmonton-area representatives on the list include Jennifer Keith and Luke Butterworth of JustCook Kitchens, Scott Iserhoff of Pei Pei Chei Ow, Faaiza Ramji and Lindsey Good of Field Notes, Gurpreet Ranu of Anohka Distillery, James Grant of Little Hong Kong, Omar Mouallem for his documentary The Last Baron, and Kyla Pascal and Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon of Hungry Zine.
- Edmontonian and forthcoming cookbook author Cheata Nao will be leading a Cambodian cooking class at Get Cooking.
- Edify pays a visit to Spice Kitchen & Bar (located in the former Cibo space).
- Pampa’s west location is offering a new a la carte menu.
- Northern Chicken co-owner Matt Phillips shared on social media that the “next few weeks are critical to the continued existence of our business”, and in response, the local community stepped up.
- Congratulations to Tokiwa Ramen on reaching its fifth birthday!
- Sea Change Brewing is relaunching its popular special label, Shumka Blonde Ale, in celebration of Shumka on Tour. $1 for every four-pack sold will be donated to Artists in Ukraine.
- Alberta Food Tours shares ten places for sourdough in Alberta, highlighting Bon Ton, Boulangerie Bonjour, and Brio Bakery in Edmonton.
- Al Fresco on 4th will return this summer for 10 Saturdays from 11am-3pm, running June 25 and ending August 27, 2022.
- Mike Yasinski, formerly of Hudsons, was elected as the Board President of Restaurants Canada. Yasinski is currently working on opening Rally Social Room, an activity based bar and restaurant, in Edmonton.
- The latest episode of Amplify Your Business features The Art of Charcuterie.
- Edmonton-based company Flat Out Feasts has pioneered creating freeze-dried meals in Alberta intended for backcountry trips.
- Food4Good re-launched their Good Food 2 Go affordable food options boxes, and sold out “due to unprecedented demand”.
- Calgary hosted a “pay what you want” market that aimed to reduce stigma of food insecurity by posting suggested prices but allowing customers the opportunity to anonymously pay what they’re able to.
What I Ate
- Our first Downtown Dining Week meal saw Mack and I sharing two different $20 deals (the beauty of take-out)! – the Stonair from Farrow and my favourite Hangover Burger from Jack’s Burger Shack. Mack loved the Doritos crunch on the sandwich, and waffle buns are a fun novelty. By combining combos we also got to split fries, a milkshake and dessert.
Farrow and Jack’s Burger Shack Downtown Dining Week features
- Our next Downtown Dining Week meal was another mash-up to enable us to try more restaurants: Tiffin, Dagu, and Smoke BBQ. The portions at all three restaurants were massive, and my family all had leftovers to take home. We were especially impressed with the burnt ends from Smoke BBQ, and continue to be impressed by how crispy their fries remain after being carted home in a box.
Take-out for four adults(!) from Downtown Dining Week
- It might be the best Downtown Dining Week deal this year – 2 breakfast sandwiches and 2 coffees from District Cafe for $20. So delicious (hard to argue with either truffle mushroom or bacon and egg), and it was even tastier enjoyed in the sunshine.
Breakfast sandwiches from District Cafe