Northern Chicken Expands to 104 Street Downtown
Back in March, co-owner Matt Phillips shared that “the next few weeks are critical to the continued existence of our business.” The social media post attracted the attention of a local investor who wishes to remain unnamed. That turned the tide for the business, said co-owner Andrew Cowan.
“[The investor] had seen us talking about our struggles online and really believed in the restaurant and who we are and what we stand for and wanted to help us keep going,” said Cowan. “In all honesty without people stepping up to help us do that, we were done.”
Cowan said that although this was the only restaurant the investor has been involved in, they respected Northern Chicken’s outspoken support of the LGBTQ community and the mental health of hospitality workers. The investment included a directive to expand. Cowan said moving into the soon-to-be-vacant Say Uncle space at 10184 104 Street — leased by business partner Jimmy Shewchuk — was a natural fit.
“The location made sense,” said Cowan. “And the décor is along the lines of what we do and it wouldn’t be hard for us to change it over.”
Cowan hopes to have the second location open before August, and diners can initially expect the same menu as Northern Chicken’s flagship location. Changes may eventually be made to cater more to the neighbourhood, Cowan said.
“I think the Northern Chicken brand is strong, and there is a good patio,” said Cowan. “We’ll have delivery and take-out available and will probably be more heavy on individual meals versus 20 piece meals, but we will make sure we get our bearings and are ready to rock.”
As for the new location’s neighbour across the street — Seoul Fried Chicken, which opened its second location on 104 Street earlier in the summer — Cowan believes there is enough business for both establishments.
“When we first opened, everyone wanted to compare us,” said Cowan. “They’re doing a different style of fried chicken than we are. They have a good following, and we have a good following. It’s like pasta and ramen; they’re both noodles but they’re different.”
Cowan is most excited about the possibilities of the second shop after a lengthy period of stasis. “It’s been two years of doing the same thing over and over again. This is a new space, with new clients, and opportunities to do some new things.”
- Leopard is a new pizzeria located in West Block in the Glenora neighbourhood (Unit 170, 14053 West Block Drive).
- EVEL Drinks + Eats is now open at 8716 109 Street, serving up bao, bubble tea, and drinks.
- Token Bitters has opened their first storefront as a part of the long-delayed Vignettes Brick & Mortar Festival. Find them at 10035 108 Street until August 27, 2022.
- El Mero Mero’s brick and mortar shop is now open. Learn more about El Mero Mero’s journey from food truck to restaurant.
- Twice Cream’s official opening date is July 8, 2022, at 10983 127 Street. If you wanted to stop by earlier, they are currently in their soft opening phase.
- It looks like The Little Spot, at 11907 Jasper Avenue, which stocks products from other purveyors, including Battista’s Calzones, along with their house-made gelato, has re-opened.
- Second Cup’s long-awaited location in the Stanley Milner Library is now open.
- The Nook has closed its Downtown shop, having been “asked to vacate this location by the landlord.” They have moved their equipment and furnishings into storage while they look for a new home.
- Get Cooking is hosting their first patio pop-up of the summer, featuring Kathryn Joel and Mai Nguyen’s bun cha. Tickets are $35 per person, and include a main, drink and dessert.
- BaconFest is returning to K-Days on July 28, 2022. Tickets are $49.99 each, and includes eight bacon-based dishes, drink samples, and entertainment.
- Blue Plate Diner has changed their format to focus on serving all-day breakfast, lunch and brunch, and as a result, are shifting their hours to 10am-4pm on weekdays, and Saturdays from 9am-4pm and Sundays from 9am-2pm.
- Phil’s latest Best Dish column focuses on Walker Lake Meat Shop (5049 22 Avenue SW).
- CBC Radioactive also highlighted Tee Pee Treats. They will be based out of Co-Lab at 102A Avenue between 96 and 97 Street as of July 12, 2022 from Tuesday to Saturday from 11am-7pm.
- Edify checked out Miss Saigon and Ken’s Diner.
- It was great to see some local restaurants step up with acts of reconciliation on Canada Day, including Rosewood Foods and Kind Ice Cream.
- Happy third birthday to Woodshed Burgers and Sweet Stix Ice Pops!
- Taproot explores how consumers can decrease their food waste at home.
- The Edmonton Community Foundation shared the origin story behind the Edmonton Food Bank.
What I Ate
When I had Emily back in 2018, I only missed posting Food Notes the week she was born. As we expect our second child in August, I’m going to give myself much more grace than that if needed! While I intend to continue with these posts as I am able, I will be taking a break from the feature stories when the time comes. It’s still my great privilege to highlight those working tirelessly in Edmonton’s food and hospitality scene, and I do hope to continue, but it might take me some time to get there. The Food Roundup published by Mack’s startup Taproot Edmonton (on which my stories are also published) will continue, and you will also find food-related stories on the site. Thanks for reading, and I will share an update about the newest little one in the future!
- A couple of colleagues and I had a lovely lunch at May last week. The Vietnamese pork burger was very tasty, and the service was stellar. Chef Doreen Prei shared that she is leaving May – best wishes on her next chapter!
Vietnamese pork burger and fries from May
- It’s dangerous now that I know Cupcake Mama is selling single cupcakes out of their storefront in the Don Wheaton YMCA.
Cookies and cream cupcake from Cupcake Mama
- I may have found my new favourite pasta at Dalla – the di mamma! I loved the creamy pesto-infused sauce. Their patio is also such a lovely place to linger, and with Little Bear Gelato on offer, it might just be Emily’s new favourite Downtown spot, too.
Di Mamma pasta from Dalla
- We picked up our first Fuzion Donuts to try at Al Fresco on SAturday. They were better than I expected – the Rolo cake donut I tried had great texture, and Mack thought they captured the root beer essence pretty well in his yeasted donut.
Donut from Fusion Donuts