April 3, 2020
Category: Blog Posts
Photo Essay: The People in Our Neighbourhood
Online orders, curbside pickup, takeout counters replacing empty dining rooms once filled with table-to-table reservations on a Friday night. Downtown restaurants and retailers are changing the way they do business under new rules designed to stem the spread of coronavirus. Owners are working even longer days to pivot their operations. They are worried, yes indeed, but they’re also resilient, strong and, most of, all thankful for the support that Edmontonians have shown.
The following photos were taken on the evening of Friday, April 3, on what would normally be one of the busiest days of the week for Downtown businesses.
What we found is that amidst a challenging situation, these businesses are stepping up in the most incredible ways. Three days a week, Tzin offers a curbside menu that includes wine and the 104 street restaurant’s Spotify music playlist. Co-owner Kelsey Danyluk (pictured here) greets customers at the door with a convivial spirit that will turn your day around completely.
When Yuksel Gultekin of Sofra Turkish Cuisine (pictured above) greets you at the curb the first thing he does is asks you how your day is going. It seems a bit odd when you know that that the 106 restaurant owner is probably going through a lot more than most of us. Then you realize that real conversation and a friendly face is just what you’ve been craving. Named one of Edmonton’s Best Restaurants and featured on TV show "You Gotta Eat Here," Sofra is offering curbside pickup of their signature dishes, such as Ahi tuna kebab, rack of lamb and traditional Turkish pizza.
Over at Central Social Hall, it’s all about taking care of each other. Vance Bosch told us they have weekly virtual staff meetings to stay connected with laid-off employees. The most wonderful news is that Cenral Social Hall is providing $5 meals for former employees to ensure that they eat healthy and needn’t worry about where their next meal comes from. How’s that for creating a positive workplace culture? And if that doesn’t make you order from Central Social Hall, 25% of curside pickup might do the trick.
For some, it’s lonely days now working alone and seeing few customers walk through the doors. Jeanine at Careit Urban Deli on 104 street greets customers who drop by the store for cooked meals, salads, soups and small grocery items.
Antonio Bilotta, co-owner of Al Centro, spends long days at his Jasper Avenue and 98 street restaurant. In between preparing take & bake pizza and pastas, sauces and breads for pickup and delivery, he’s busy redesigning Al Centro so they can soon start selling pantry goods. It’s time to start planning for the future.
Almost one month ago, Leo Fan of Ramen Misoya was on Global TV cooking dishes from his Downtown Dining Week menu. Having opened six months earlier on 104 street, the Michelin-recommended restaurant was excited for the 12-day dining celebration. Fast forward four weeks later, things are drastically different. Business is slow, but Fan is thankful that there are some takeout and delivery orders trickling in.
It’s rare these days to catch a moment with Daniel Braun, co-owner of Tres Carnales and Rostizado. He’s got a lot on his plate managing the two restaurants and a skeleton crew that are pumping out award-winning Mexican food for taco-loving Edmontonians. But when you do get Braun to stand still, it’s great to see that he’s still in good spirits and doing what he can do to keep the doors open.