Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week Returns, October 17-25, 2019

For a second straight year, the Beverly Business Improvement Area has partnered with Wild Heart Collective to organize the Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week. The event runs from October 17-25, 2019, and will highlight some of the diverse cuisines that can be found in this east end neighbourhood.

The number of participating restaurants have increased from eight to ten this year, but the parameters of the event are still the same: each establishment will offer an exclusive deal to entice diners to their doors. A majority of restaurants have chosen to highlight their most popular dishes, a good strategy to gain repeat business.

Like last year, I had the opportunity to attend a media preview and sample some of the fare to be served during Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week. My friend Su came along for the ride; it was her first time down in Beverly!

Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week 2019

Amy Hayduk (Wild Heart Collective), Wes Robson (Executive Director of the Beverly BIA), and Michael Benti (Old Beverly Cafe) kick-off the evening

The tour launched from the Olde Beverly Cafe, a cozy space owned by Rachel and Michael Benti that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They are returning Dining Week participants, and said that they did see some new faces during the 2018 event. They served up tastes of some of their Dining Week specials, including beef on a bun with au jus, apple pie, and my favourite bite – the Belgian waffle with whipped cream and fruit.

Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week 2019

Tastes from Olde Beverly Cafe

Our second stop was Chicken For You, a restaurant serving up Korean and Canadian favourites located in the Drake Hotel. Opened by Jane Kim and her husband James in August 2018, they have maintained some of the menu items from the previous restaurant owners (namely, eggs and bacon breakfasts, burgers, and some Chinese plates), but have expanded the repertoire to include dishes from their native Korea.

Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week 2019

Chicken For You

We were able to try three types of their Korean fried chicken – crispy fried, spicy sauce, and soy garlic sauce. Our table couldn’t get enough of the chicken, all prepared fresh, and at least for the pieces I enjoyed, were all boneless. My favourite was the spicy chicken, as it was balanced with some sweetness to take the edge off.

Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week 2019

Crispy fried chicken from Chicken For You

We also sampled Chicken For You’s beef bulgogi. Jane explained that the sauce is made once a week by her husband, and contains no sugar; instead, it is sweetened entirely with fruit (apples and pears).

Our final stop was Mumbai Dakar Restaurant, which opened in June of this year. The menu represents the heritage of the two chefs – Solo Dilallo, originally from Senegal (he owns the restaurant along with his partner), and Ahmed Ashfak, who is from India. Solo shared that Mumbai Dakar is the only restaurant that he is aware of that offers Senegalese cuisine.

Solo was very proud to serve some traditional dishes, including Joloff rice with beef (broken rice baked in a tomato sauce with onion, garlic, bell peppers), and Yassa (charbroiled chicken marinated in Dijon, lemon, and spices). Ahmed had prepared butter chicken and chicken tikka to serve alongside.

Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week 2019

Sample plate from Mumbai Dakar with Joloff rice, Yassa, and chicken tikka

Beverly may not be on the radar for some, but hopefully Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week encourages more people to explore some of the gems in this neighbourhood. Thanks again to the Beverly BIA and Wild Heart Collective for the invitation!

Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week runs October 17-25, 2019. The menus are available here.

Preview: Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week, October 5-13, 2018

There are so many parts of Edmonton that I have yet to fully appreciate, and I am grateful when opportunities arise to encourage further exploration. When it involves food, I’m even more likely to participate – so the first ever Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week is right up my alley.

Eight restaurants in Beverly are showcasing their fare from October 5-13, 2018, ranging from long-standing establishments to several newcomers to the neighbourhood. I had the chance to visit some of these restaurants with my friend Freya on Wednesday during a media preview event, and was pleasantly surprised by the diversity and the sense of community evident that night.

Wild Heart Collective (the folks behind Eats on 118 and the 124 Grand Market) worked with the Beverly Business Improvement Area on developing the event. Wes Robson, the Executive Director of the BIA, said Beverly is an often forgotten part of Edmonton. That’s definitely been the case for me – I haven’t been back to the area since I visited the farmers’ market a few years ago (with a pit stop for doughnuts from Take 5). After the tour, I could easily see myself returning to spend an afternoon in Beverly, having lunch and picking up groceries and dessert to go.

Beverly Dining Week

Olde Towne Beverly

Two of our stops highlighted the Ukrainian heritage of some of the original settlers in Beverly. Uncle Ed’s is a city institution, and one restaurant that has been on my to-visit list for ages. Collette Hennig, whose grandfather opened Mundare’s famous Stawnichy’s in 1959, is now the third generation to run the family business. Her daughter has recently been dipping her toe in operations as well, something that is great to hear.

Although the first Edmonton location opened in 1986, the current iteration of Uncle Ed’s has been in Beverly for twelve years. The shop is split between a grocery store offering Stawnichy’s meat products and frozen goods, and a family-friendly restaurant serving up Ukrainian comfort food at very reasonable prices. Their Dining Week special is a sampler plate, featuring perogies, sausage, cabbage rolls, baked cheese bun, cheese crepe, and homemade pie for dessert. Based on our tastes of these items, I’ll be back for a full serving very soon.

Beverly Dining Week

The spread at Uncle Ed’s

I hadn’t heard of Widynowski’s Sausage House prior to the tour, but it turns out they also have deep roots in Beverly, having been in operation there for 34 years. Tyler Hawryluk, whose father and uncle started Widynowski’s in 1984, has since taken over the business, and shared that everything in the shop is still hand made. They have a selection of sausages and jerky, in addition to frozen perogies, cabbage rolls, and other Ukrainian delicacies. The ham and garlic sausage we tried was delicious, and is included in the take-home bundle Widynowski’s has put together for their Dining Week deal.

Beverly Dining Week

Sausage at Widynowski’s

We also sampled the fare from two more recent establishments. The first was Old Beverly Cafe, opened by Rachel and Michael Benti in January. Although the interior has been designed to resemble the mine shafts that recall the coal mining history of Beverly, the menu is much more eclectic. That night, we sampled poutine, paninis, and their Dining Week specials, bruschetta and a Mediterranean burger, with tzatziki atop a lamb patty.

Beverly Dining Week

Old Beverly Cafe

It’s a cozy little spot that I wouldn’t have thought to encounter in Beverly, charming and quaint. Their breakfast menu looks particularly intriguing, with a breakfast poutine that I wouldn’t be able to pass up.

Beverly Dining Week

A sampling at Old Beverly Cafe

Nalaz Kitchen is another newcomer to the neighbourhood, having opened in January. The couple behind the restaurant is originally from India, but the chef has extensive experience in international hotels and cruise ships, inspiring a menu they describe to feature “Indian flavours and Canadian tastes”.

We sampled several of their savoury dishes, including a curry poutine, chicken tikka burger and fish and crisps. The spice level was tuned for more moderate palates, but everyone around our table enjoyed the plates. The highlight of the meal, however, was dessert – a red velvet waffle with cream cheese frosting that silenced the room. If one were to plan a food crawl in this area, Nalaz would be the ideal choice to end the evening.

Beverly Dining Week

Red velvet waffle at Nalaz Kitchen

Swiss 2 Go is well-known to many in Edmonton for their scratch-made sandwiches. Originally from Switzerland, Drita Keller and her family moved to Edmonton in 2012, and opened up a small cafe in Beverly. Although they moved to a location across from West Edmonton Mall for a few years, Drita said they didn’t find the community they were hoping for and so, returned to Beverly again about three years ago.

Drita is a consummate host, and warmly hugged each patron before we departed. It’s amazing she has the energy she does, given she starts working at 3:30am to ensure the shop is stocked with freshly baked pretzel buns each day. Given the foundation of a great sandwich is the bread, it’s no wonder why Swiss 2 Go has the reputation it does. The ingredients are fresh (the sandwich I tried featured prosciutto, salami, bocconcini, and sundried tomato), but it really is the pretzel bun, studded with rock salt, that sets is apart. During Dining Week, a select variety of their regular and large sandwiches are 20% off.

Beverly Dining Week

Sandwiches at Swiss 2 Go

Their desserts, also handcrafted, were made for Instagram, served in a molded chocolate teacup.

Beverly Dining Week

Freya enjoys her “tea”

While it probably helped that board members of the Beverly Business Improvement Area were among the group that night, we felt very welcome at each of the establishments we visited. Nearly all of the business owners mentioned that they felt a kinship with the community, and indicated that they felt well supported by the residents. Well, it’s about time that this well kept secret is shared with the rest of Edmonton!

Thanks to Wild Heart and the Beverly BIA for a wonderful evening!

Check the Beverly BIA website for more information about Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week.