HicksBiz Blog

Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks Weekly Dish: Local Omnivore doing it right BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2016

The Local Omnivore 10933 120 St. 780-660-1051 www.thelocalomnivore.com Tues. to Thurs. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat. and Sun. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Mondays Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Lunch for two: Excluding drinks and tip, loaded, $35, basic, $20 Doing it right has never been more pronounced. Mark Bellows and Ryan Brodziak started The Local Omnivore as a relatively low-cost food truck specializing in meat sandwiches and hamburgers. Having built an excellent reputation as a mobile operation, they moved that reputation into one of the city’s best sandwich shops, custom-built to their specifications. The Local Omnivore restaurant opened before Christmas and hasn’t looked back. What do they do right? Mostly, they do it all themselves. They source their meat from a network of organic farms around Edmonton that specialize in range-free, hormone-free, grass-fed etc. etc. One of the Omnivore staffers actually butchers much of their mea ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Two approaches to this business of hospitality Two approaches to this business of hospitality BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2016

This is a tale of how two different businesses, The Parkallen Restaurant group and the Burger Baron chain, react – or don’t react — to business conditions or unexpected circumstances. On 109 Street, 10 blocks south of Old Strathcona, two generations of the Rustom family have spent decades building the original Parkallen into an excellent eatery with two parallel menus – one featuring up-scale, excellent Mediterranean cuisine, the other offering a wide range of pizzas. Through circumstance rather than design, Joseph Rustom became the owner/operator of the recently opened West Parkallen Kitchen + Bar – a larger, less intimate space than the on-going South Side restaurant in a very different location – on 170th Street just north of 108 Ave. A different location means different clientele, tastes and preferences. Rustom quickly realized the 170th Street location attracted customers seeking value and familiarity. The original Parkallen menu was simplified. A deli counter ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Downtown Dining Week BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2016

Everybody loves a deal. That’s why Groupon exists. That’s why restaurants have Two-For-One Mondays, Pasta Tuesdays, Half-Price Wine Wednesdays. Until Sunday, March 20, thanks to Downtown Dining Week, almost every downtown restaurant of any repute is offering giant discounts — $15 per person for a two-course lunch, $28 for a three-course dinner, $48 for an “executive” (i.e. fancier) three-course dinner. Of course the restaurant would be delighted to also serve you a cocktail ($13), a bottle of wine ($40), dessert ($8), a café latte ($4) and an after-dinner brandy ($15), which would certainly increase their meagre profit margin, slashed to the bone for Downtown Dining Week. But if your goal is to get a fine meal at a deeply discounted price, to visit restaurants you otherwise couldn’t afford, move quickly. This window of opportunity closes down at closing time Sunday. I’m delighted that so many top-quality restaurants have agreed to be a part of Downt ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Tom Goodchild’s Moose Factory is wonderful BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 08, 2016

Moose Factory Calgary Trail, Edmonton Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $40; loaded, $70 There are restaurant owners who work hard at being contemporary, sending chefs to Vegas to copy the trends. And then there’s that rare animal, the restaurateur who knows, without consultants, without disturbing long-time customers, how to evolve with the times. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tom Goodchild and his Moose Factory Prime Rib & Steak House. I have driven by the Moose Factory on Calgary Trail a thousand times, but hadn’t been inside for a decade. What a delightful surprise. Combining atmosphere, service, food and value, The Moose Factory is – full stop, end of discussion - the best steakhouse in Northern Alberta. One shouldn’t be surprised. Owner Goodchild may be well into his senior years, but the founder and guiding light of both the Moose Factory and the 10 Sawmill ri ... 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 »

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 »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Workshop Eatery a fulfillment of a dream BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2016

Workshop Eatery Mosaic Centre, 2003 91 St. SW (corner 91 Street SW and Savaryn Drive SW) 780-705-2205 theworkshopeatery.com Mon. to Wed. 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thurs. to Fri. 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns     Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $50; loaded, $90 This is not your normal Weekly Dish restaurant review. Knowing I am a hobby cook, Sun editor Phil Rivers had suggested Chef Paul (Sun food writer Paul Shufelt) and I should review each other’s food in side-by-side columns. The idea evolved into a fund-raiser, a two-part package presented in the 2015 annual ATCO Edmonton Sun Christmas Charity Auction. A few weeks ago, highest bidder Jody Fraser and his family, Chef Paul and his wife Kristine arrived at my home for dinner. Paul didn’t step foot in the kitchen. He served as table host, and, with input from Jody, Janice, Jo ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Million Thai Restaurant - unforgettable stir fry BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2016

Million Thai Restaurant Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Tuesdays millionthaiedmonton.com Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $25; loaded, $40 I’d love to write that Million Thai Restaurant is one of those hidden gems where great ethnic food is to be had in a dimly-lit diner with deteriorating Halloween-orange Naugahyde back-rests. Alas, in Million Thai’s case, the gem in the rough is only half true. Two of the main dishes were beautiful, fragrant, fresh and delicious. But of other two, one was passable and one not properly prepared. As a hole-in-the-wall prospect, Million Thai was tantalizing. It’s in Beverly at the east end of 118th Avenue, in a mildly dilapidated strip mall (parking out front) with a physiotherapy clinic on one side and a convenience store on the other. In short, the kind of area you expect to find a hidden gem. The kitchen, next to the restaurant, has i ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Alberta Hotel Bar + Grill among the best BY GRAHAM HICKS, POSTMEDIA NETWORK FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2016

Alberta Hotel Bar + Grill 9802 Jasper Ave 780-760-0062 albertahotelbarkitchen.com Mon. to Thurs. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to midnight Fri. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sat. 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday closed Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding drinks and tip: Basic, $60; loaded, $80 I was worried, but I ought not to have been. Worried that the Alberta Hotel Bar + Kitchen, burdened with expectation, could not win for want of trying. A few years ago, across Jasper Avenue from the Shaw Conference Centre, architect/developer Gene Dub replicated the once-fine Alberta Hotel, torn down in its declining years to make way for that pink palace known as Canada Place. On the main floor, architect Dub re-created the early 20th century ambiance of the original Alberta Hotel bar and restaurant. The Hardware Grill’s Larry Stewart leased the premise and soon opened Tavern 1903 with magnificent food and ambience. Somet ... 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 »