HicksBiz Blog

Category: Around town

Around town

Hicks on Biz: You wanna open a restaurant BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2015

So you want to open a restaurant. You, and a thousand other dudes, all sitting around half-hammered on a Friday night, waving your beers and being enthralled by the BEST FOOD CONCEPT EVER! Ryan Heit, Craig Milne, Jeff Morton, Arden Tse and Terry Wong, however, went and did it. Their very hip Prairie Noodle Shop opened for business this past week … after 2½ years of preparation. Here’s their story. Phase I, The Concept: In mid-2013, nine friends who were connected through the University of Alberta’s MBA (Master of Business Administration) program began meeting regularly, just to think about business ideas. “We all wanted to start something,” says partner Ryan Heit, “but what?” Arden Tse and Terry Wong, both experienced restaurant managers, brought the idea of a Japanese-style ramen noodle shop to the group. “We held a ramen tasting party,” says Ryan. “We all liked the idea, but it was a $450,000 investment. And, being MBA stu ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks`Weekly Dish: Fresh Fit Foods challenge a success BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 03, 2015

For three weeks, with Garner Andrews (Sonic FM), J’Lyn Nye (CHED), Gillian Foote (The Bear), Chris Sheetz (CISN), Matt DeBeurs (CISN), Matt Chalut (The Bounce), Liann Cameron (The Bounce), Ashley Sexsmith (Kula Klips), publicist Donna Zazulak, Wendy Mueller, Deb Jakubec (Canadian Diabetes Association) nd Chris Reeve (Edmonton Child Magazine), I have stayed within a carefully designed, 1,800 calories-a-day nutrition program with all the food (three meals and two snacks a day) coming from the Fresh Fit Foods’ kitchen. As part of the Media Challenge, thanks to Fresh Fit’s sister company World Health, we have all had three sessions per week with a personal trainer. I’ve been exercising an hour a day, six days a week, be it in the gym (resistance), running or biking (cardio) or yoga (stretching). It’s safe to say the results and the attitude adjustments have been an eye-opener. Those endless messages about eating a big breakfast, avoiding sugar and deep-fried food, eating lea ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Fresh Fit Foods Challenge, Week 2 BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2015

Nobody said the Fresh Fit Foods’ intensive three-week nutrition and exercise “re-set” would be easy. The first four days of the 21 Day Media Challenge, in which I am a participant, were euphoric. Last Thursday, my body hummed with health, as if cleansed by the re-portioned, pre-cooked Fresh Fit individual meals that feature proteins, nutrient-dense carbohydrates and fresh veggies. I wasn’t feeling hungry at all. World Health personal trainer Jessi Zelinsky is pushing me in exercise sessions and my body loves it. Exercise is highly recommended as part of the 21 Day Challenge. Fresh Fit Foods is a sister company to the World Health gym group. But then, just as Fresh Fit Foods’ nutritionist Laura Swan had warned me, over the weekend a few hours of hunger set in. This is natural, she said. With an accelerated six-day-a-week program of running, resistance training and yoga, my calorie burn-rate has been greater than the carefully constructed 1,800 calories per day I am ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Big cities not respecting public purse BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2015

Wednesday’s “Cities and the Future of Canada“ annual Hurtig Lecture at the University of Alberta featured Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. The evening has to be analyzed in the context of the seismic shift in political attitude that happened in Canada last Monday. I was expecting practical, down-to-earth thoughts from these two, both considered leaders of a new wave of Canadian politics where big-city mayors get the same face time and respect as  provincial and federal leaders. And, being old school – witness my woeful misreading of Alberta sentiment as national sentiment in predicting a bare-majority Conservative government last week – I thought there’d be more concern from these two on how to pay for the updated Canadian urban agenda. Wrong again. The presentations, then discussion by these two mayors – intellectually heads ‘n’ shoulders above your average politician – were in the philosophical and politic ... Read the rest of entry »

Graham Hicks jumps into Fresh Fit Foods' 21 Day Challenge BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2015

To review restaurants on a weekly basis is, yes, a dream assignment. Any whining -having to eat out, tiring of rich foods -would be silly in the extreme. But my weight has sneaking up -from 155 pounds a few years back, to 160, to 165, and, as of Monday, 169 pounds. At 5 foot, 5 inches, I'm porky. My clothes still fit, but the gut is hanging over the belt. So when Fresh Fit Foods invited local media personalities to participate in its 21 Day Challenge, I jumped at the chance. BOLD BUSINESS Fresh Fit Foods is a bold business venture by World Health Club owner David Hardy and partners, a bet that Edmontonians want to be pro-active about their health, that in this deep-fryer world of cream, cheese, fats and sugars here, there and everywhere, we need not look and feel like blimps. From a commercial kitchen beside the Glenora World Health club, Fresh Fit Foods produces individual meals and snacks that can be purchased on-line and picked up at any of the 10 World Health clubs in Metro Edmonton. The ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Tofu House offers excellent Korean cuisine BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2015

Tofu House Korean Restaurant 5020-97 St. 780-989-0804 Facebook, no website Seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Sunday 11:30 a.m. opening) Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $25; loaded, $40 I guess they don’t need to advertise, when two-thirds of the large Tofu House was taken up by a funeral party and the balance of the Korean restaurant was respectably full for Saturday lunch. But how sad. This very good, authentic Korean restaurant is unknown outside its Asiatic, mostly Chinese clientele. On the south side, Tofu House is at 51 Avenue and 97 Street in a former Swiss Chalet. The interior isn’t going to win design awards. The Swiss Chalet naugahyde remains unchanged. Nobody pays much attention to customer service. Inadequate English was an issue with several servers. But the Korean food is excellent, the best I’ve had in Edmonton. Don’t be put off by the name. This is n ... Read the rest of entry »

Citadel Theatre production of Evangeline the musical surpasses all expectations: Review by GRAHAM HICKS

Evangeline Book, lyrics and music by Ted Dykstra Directed by Bob Baker Citadel Theatre, Edmonton Canada, to Nov. 22, 2015 Ticket information Review by GRAHAM HICKS What’s on at the Citadel Theatre for the next two weeks until Nov. 22, 2025, has a real good shot at being a Broadway hit in a few years. Dare to dream in technicolour. Evangeline could emerge as a hot Hollywood property, a Disney-style animated movie in the tradition of Beauty & the Beast and Pocahontas. If I’m a Broadway producer, I’m looking for: A great love story: • Evangeline is one of the best. Lovers tragically separated, spending their lives looking for one another. Great tunes: • Evangeline is full of them. Happy, happy: • Multiple scenes of happy village folks leading the idyllic life, singin’ and dancin’ to beat the band. Sad, sad:  • Tragedy and mayhem besets the villagers and the hard-luck lovers at every turn. Struggles are endured, emotions are deeply scar ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Memphis Blues Barbeque House offers great value BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 06, 2015

Memphis Blues Barbeque House 5317 23 Ave. NW 780-428-6328 (also locations in Sherwood Park and Castledowns) Seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Sundays, noon to 9 p.m.) Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $25; loaded, $50 The Memphis Blues Barbeque House all-meat platter is a delight for the eyes … and for the wallet. Five hungry adults looked in awe at the Memphis Feast platter as it made its triumphant arrival to our table in the small chain’s Mill Woods outlet. Clock-wise around the platter, all nice ‘n’ hot ‘n’ looking so tasty, were BIG portions of various meats – a fine slab of ribs, beef brisket, smoked sausage, rib ends, pulled pork, BBQ chicken, French fries, three pieces of corn bread and, in the centre in four bowls, BBQ pit beans, coleslaw, potato salad and the in-house BBQ dipping sauce. How much food? We were a party of five hungry adults ... Read the rest of entry »


The Dog 9567A 118 Ave. 780-424-6823 Tues. to Sun. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $20; loaded, $35 The lowly hot dog ascends, from a kids’ birthday party staple, to Fat Franks hot dog stands, to the crazy Asian fusion dogs at the It’ Dog. And now the hot dog arrives to its full magnificent glory.  The Dog is a sit-down  hot-dog emporium on 118 Avenue where you can order 23 kinds of hot dogs – at least 14 variations based on excellent locally made beef and beef/pork dogs, then hot dogs built from  kangaroo, elk, wild boar and alligator sausage, and even three vegetarian dogs!  The Dog shares its building and ownership with the best BBQ house in town, Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus, which means it shares the quirky creativeness of over-all owner Bjorn Cochran. Cochran has had a lot of laughs creating The Dog. You’d associate the ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton's easier to get around now than it's ever been BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2015

Good news! Edmonton’s transportation system is in really, really good shape … besides the potholes.  Complain though we will, our new and upgraded roads and bridges, our airport, public transit and private ride-sharing (Uber, not taxis) has never been better.  Automobiles (Roads):  The Henday Ring Road is the biggest single improvement, on time, on budget, three-quarters done with completion of the northeast leg next year. The end is in sight for the massive road re-construction on Hwy 216 (the Henday between Edmonton and Sherwood Park) from the Hwy 16/Hwy 216 interchange south to the Whitemud Drive. The widening and upgrading of the Whitemud’s Quesnell Bridge (across the North Saskatchewan River) has done the trick. Barring accidents, traffic now flows smoothly across that bridge at all hours of the day.  Likewise the Calgary Trail/23rd Avenue interchange has cleaned up a former mess.   The Queen Elizabeth II/41st Ave. SW interchange, weeks away from ... Read the rest of entry »