HicksBiz Blog

Category: Around town

Around town

Hicks on Biz: Daryl Katz sensed the time was right to get out of drug retail business BY GRAHAM HICKS, FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: FRIDAY, MARCH 04, 2016

What was Daryl Katz doing, selling his Rexall drug store chain upon which he built his current fortune, for $3 billion to American pharmaceutical giant McKesson? It’s about being where the puck is going, not where it is. It’s about long-term vision, strategic transformation and deliberate disruption, about Katz becoming a global business player, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg. In the drug retail business, Katz sensed the time to exit is now, while the going is still good. Rexall is primarily a bunch of drugstores, but the North America drug business is increasingly consolidating into “vertical integration”. The same mega-companies, i.e. McKesson, manufacture, distribute and retail drugs. Katz didn’t see himself in drug manufacturing and distribution. He saw the storm clouds on the horizon if Rexall continued as only a drug retailer. Obviously he was offered good coin to sell to McKesson. Buying the Oilers in 2008, ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks’ Weekly Dish: Best fast-food burger in town BY GRAHAM HICKS, FIRST POSTED EDMONTON SUN: TUESDAY, MARCH 01, 2016

Two years ago, the Weekly Dish went searching for the best fast-food burger in town. The Harvey's Angus Burger finished on top at 4.5 out of 5 Suns, pursued by the A&W Poppa Burger (4.25 Suns). Then came the pack: The Fatburger Baby Burger (3.5 Suns), a Burger King Double Whopper (3.25 Suns), Wendy's Bacon Deluxe Single (3 Suns), the McDonald's Quarter Pounder (3 Suns), and Dairy Queen's Grill Burger (2.5 Suns). Edmonton has since experienced an American burger invasion. Three franchises -- Five Guys, Smashburger and Carl's Jr -- have moved into the 'burbs. St. Albert's Jack's Burger Shack has made a name for itself, as has the two-outlet Rodeo Burger. Alberta's Burger Baron group started way back in the '60s. Part II of the War of the Classic Burgers, the rules: The venue had to be a burger joint, had to be fast-food The burgers had to have bacon and cheese with one big meat patty or a double. If there was a signature burger, that's what we ate. Have prices ever jumped! Burgers in 2014 wer ... Read the rest of entry »

Costumes, colour and non-stop action: The Citadel Theatre's Alice Through the Looking Glass. Review by Graham Hicks

Alice Through The Looking Glass Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Feb. 27 to March 20, 2016 Adapted for the stage by James Reaney, from the Lewis Carroll classic. Tickets Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com To truly enjoy the Citadel’s frothy, Cirque de Soleil-like production of Alice Through the Looking-Glass, look not for underlying philosophy, ideology or theology. Relax, sit back, and simply enjoy the theatrical feast laid before your very eyes. This is a production of non-stop delightful  moments, showing off the ability of professional theatre to create illusion at its very finest. It’s about costume and colour, superb team-work and great comedy – mostly of the physical variety.  When this stage adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic tones down to serious, or at least explanatory, it stumbles and goes cold as was the case in Act. 1.  Once Alice (Ellie Heath) has popped through the looking glass into her dream world (or is it the Red Kin ... Read the rest of entry »

This Wizard of Oz (at the Jubilee Auditorium) does justice to the legend - Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Wizard of Oz Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Tuesday, Feb. 23 – Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 8 p.m.   Sat. matinee, 2 p.m. Sun. matinee, 1 p.m., evening 6:30 p.m. Tickets $45 to $145, (plus 25% extra in facility charges and service fees) REVIEW BY GRAHAM HICKS  - Hicksbiz.com How beguiling, to see another generation of young children entranced  by the story of Dorothy and Toto and the land of Oz.  It’s been going on since Frank Baum wrote the original “American fairy tale” in 1900, through Broadway productions, silent movies, then into the stratosphere with the classic 1939 movie with the young Judy Garland – using brand-new colour technology – as Dorothy, and the movie’s subsequent re-spooling year after year on that revolutionary new social medium of the 1950s known as television. The Wizard of Oz, being performed at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium through Sunday, Feb. 28, is the latest wrinkle in the re-telling of this ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: There’s charcuterie, then there’s Cured charcuterie BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2016

Cured Wine Bar 2307 Ellwood Dr. SW  (off 91 Street, south of Henday Drive) 780-756-3722 www.curedwinebar.com Food - 4 of 5 Suns Ambience - 4 of 5 Suns Service - 4 of 5 Suns Mon. to Thurs. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fri. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.   Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $32; loaded, $50 What’s the point, I’ve always wondered, of ordering charcuterie - cold-cuts and cheese served on a wooden cutting board – at a restaurant? Go to the Italian Centre, buy deli meats and cheeses and make a charcuterie at home for a third of the price! Then I heard about Cured Wine Bar on the South Side, so far south as to be closer to the International Airport than to downtown. Charcuterie is the entire focus of the restaurant, along with small plates, deserts, and mostly Okanagan wines by the bottle and glass. On Cured’s Enomatic wine prese ... Read the rest of entry »

On Being Gay in the 21st Century: The Gay Heritage Project at the Citadel Theatre - review by Graham Hicks

The Gay Heritage Project Citadel Theatre, Club Stage Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Feb. 10 to 27, 2016 Tickets Review by GRAHAM HICKS, HIcksBiz.com Even  a cheerful cynic accepts that much good comes from watching shows like the Gay Heritage Project. Presented cabaret-style in the Citadel Theatre's innovative Club space, The Gay Heritage Project is an insightful, informative and entertaining look into what it's actually like to be gay.   No matter how many gay friends or acquaintances one might have, very few straight folks know that much about what's behind the curtain. The old expression "walk a mile in my shoes" comes to mind.  Three gay actors, by necessity researchers, realized precious historical or even contemporary knowledge wasn't out there about their  unique culture, their tribe.  Homosexuality has been part of mankind since the beginning of civilization, but from the fall of Rome to, finally, social acceptance in the 21st Century, little history has bee ... Read the rest of entry »

The Citadel Theatre at its best - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, review by GRAHAM HICKS

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jan 23 to Feb. 23, 2016 Review by Graham Hicks, HicksBiz.com Written in 1962, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf sits in that pantheon of dysfunctional family dramas that poured out of American playwrights with the release of literary social taboos following World War II – Death of A Salesman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (and the rest of the Tennessee Williams canon), Dark At The Top of the Stairs, Long Day’s Journey into Night. With one huge exception:  It’s very, very funny and playwright Edward Albee’s wicked humour seems to work even better as time goes by, given the acceptance and prevalence of cheerful cynicism in the early 21st Century. Face it, the rest of those classic psycho-dramas were awfully heavy slogging – the long wrung-out pauses, the gloom, the sourness, the non-stop drama, the deep dourness of all those screwed-up people. Martha and George and Nick and Honey are as screwed ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Great value at Buco Pizzeria + Vino BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2016

Buco Pizzeria + Vino Shops at Boudreau Boudreau Rd. + Bellerose Dr. St. Albert 780-569-2826 bucopizzeria.com 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (later on weekends) Seven days a week Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $25; loaded, $50 It is a joy to experience a top-notch, reasonably priced restaurant – offering champagne quality at beer-tap prices. But of course: Buco Pizzeria + Vino in St. Albert is the latest offering from the Rago family’s Sorrentino Group of restaurants. The family, headed up by Carmelo and Stella Rago, have been opening restaurants in Metropolitan Edmonton some 40 years. Their down home style, upgraded by flair and fashion, has been expressed through the original Sorrento, all the Sorrentino’s Italian restaurants, Caffe Sorrentino, Bistecca, sports bars and the occasional pub. With the Rago’s three sons slowly taking over the show, it’s no surprise a new ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: HUMA Mexican Comfort's food just so-so BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2016

HUMA Mexican Comfort 9880 63 Ave. 780-433-9229 humamexicanrestaurant.ca 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. , closed Mondays Food: 3 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $30; loaded, $50 The atmosphere is authentic, the decorations and the menu truly reflect the down-home Mexican heritage of the mom and pop owners, now 10 years in Edmonton. The servers are charming. Ours was a second-generation Latino-Canadian, who knew the cuisine and was confident in her recommendations. Prices are very good. One person can eat well for $20. It’s just too bad that the food at HUMA Mexican Comfort, overall, is so-so. HUMA shares a commercial strip that bends around the northeast corner of 63rd Avenue and 99th Street. It’s charming, done up in bright Mexican colours, with lots of old-fashioned tables and chairs. On a cold Thursday evening, it was surprisingly busy. The HUMA menu is big, probably too big, with five pages of app ... Read the rest of entry »

Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun - Editorial lay-offs Jan. 19, 2016

At least a partial list of casualties from Edmonton Sun and Edmonton Journal editorial layoffs yesterday - as gathered from Twitter and Facebook postings.  Updated Wed. Jan. 20, 10:30  a.m. Edmonton Sun Donna Harker - managing editor Gary Poignant - news editor Con Griwkowsky - sports Brian Swane - sports Perry Mah - photographer Codie MacLachlan - photographer Ian Kucerak - photographer Cary Castagna - fitness, rim Kevin Mainmann - writer Edmonton Journal Margo Goodhand - editor in chief Stephanie Coombs - managing editor Janet Vlieg - section editor Bill Mah - business writer John MacKinnon - sports columnist Chris Zdeb - lifestyle writer Liane Faulder - food writer and columnist  (since re-hired) Norm Cowley - sports Cathy Lord - website editor Curtis Stock - sports writer Joanne Ireland - sports writer Brett Wittmeier - writer Jessica Brisson - graphics, design Sasha Roeder Mah - editor Ryan Cormier - legal writer Alexandra Zabjek - writer ... Read the rest of entry »