HicksBiz Blog

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Salz Bratwurst Co. is big taste in a small package By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, January 16, 2018

SALZ BRATWURST CO. 10556 115 ST. 780-599-7259 EATSALZ.CA Tues. to Sat. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sun/Mon Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: $20; loaded, $30 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Let there be no denial.  Small is beautiful. Salz Bratwurst Co is the cutest miniature beer hall/sausage house you have ever seen, a hole-in-the-wall on 115 Street south of 107 Avenue, with two long tables to sit at and a TV to watch the Oilers.On the chalkboard menu were three choices of made-in-house bratwurst sausage (with or without the piggy-in-a-blanket bun), goulash, currywurst, three salads, cheesy spätzle and Butcher’s Cake, described as charcuterie within a bread pudding mix. The meat dishes are constant. The sides – such as pretzels, dumplings and perogies – take their turns in the daily line-up. Behind the simple bar are two draft-beer taps, through which are rotated made-in-Alberta, German-style craft beers.  The Fah ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Departing EEDC boss leaves a strong, positive legacy: By GRAHAM HICKS first published Edmonton Sun, January 15, 2018

Brad Ferguson, the boss of Edmonton’s  Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), is stepping down at the end of March after five  years on the job. He can ride off with his head held high. The job is political. The head of EEDC,  a city/business economic development partnership, can pretty well define what he or she wants the job to be. Ferguson’s a marketing guy from head to toes.  He’s all about “image” and “branding” – all those intangible aspects of business regarded by many as unnecessary, or, at best, a necessary evil. But remember, marketing made a sugar and fizzy water drink called Coca Cola that did US$41.6 billion in sales in 2016. What Ferguson did in his five years – which is the average time on the job for his four predecessors  – was to find and define Edmonton’s soul. How he went about that major task was a classic illustration of what good – great – marketing is all about. ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Pip offers solid entrees, but falters on dessert By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, January 10, 2018

Pip 10403 83 Ave 780-760-4747 pipyeg.com 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week Brunch, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $40; loaded, $80 Food:  3.75 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns| Service: 4 of 5 Suns Chefs take note: The last dish, the dessert, can cut the deepest. Following a most pleasant dinner at Pip, a dessert was sent to our table that ought never to have left the kitchen. Pip’s pineapple upside-down cake sounded tasty.  Our server, who had proved quite reliable in her suggestionsto that point, had described it in glowing terms. Alas, said cake tasted as if it had been languishing in a cooler for a day or two – cold, thick, chewy, the rum caramel sauce slightly leaden, the entire concoction unredeemed by a mighty dollop of whipped cream. Instead of leaving the new, mini-sized Old Strathcona eatery on a culinary high, happily reliving the evening’s highlights, we walked out feeling deflated, disappointed, the taste o ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Who's making what in Edmonton? RAM Elevators & Lifts: By GRAHAM HICKS, first published: January 5, 2018, Edmonton Sun

How much business in Metro Edmonton happens outside the oil/gas/petrochemical energy sector? You’d think this would be an important statistic. “Diversification” comes up every time Mayor Don Iveson or Premier Rachel Notley show up at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Say it often enough, and surely something will happen. The problem is nobody knows what they are talking about. In its definition of “manufacturing”, Statistics Canada includes everything to do with the processing of oil and gas, and the making of all products that supply the oil and gas extraction/processing sector. We stagger about in the dark, trying to find an illusive baseline upon which to measure the reality of manufacturing businesses in Edmonton that have nothing to do with the oil patch. For the next few weeks, Hicks on Biz will highlight interesting and diverse non-oil companies, how they started, grew and flourish in a town that traditionally draws its wealth from public sector employment and ... Read the rest of entry »

The Ladies Foursome at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre: Teeing off on emotional comedy - review by GRAHAM HICKS

The Ladies Foursome Mayfield Dinner Theatre DoubleTree by Hilton West Edmonton, 16615-109 Ave. Edmonton, Alberta Canada  Feb. 6, 2018 to April 1, 2018 Tickets $70 to $105, mayfieldtheatre.ca/tickets Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com Sometimes the best of business deals – the breakthrough talk that leads to later agreement at the negotiating table - take place on the golf course. And, according to the Ladies Foursome, playing at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre in Edmonton from Feb. 6 to April 1, 2018, the golf course is often a place where emotions can also be explored in the few minutes when the foursome are gathering at the start of each hole. The Ladies Foursome is a sweet show written by prolific Canadian playwright Norm Foster, a comedy with wistfulness, a comedy about regular folks who aren't super-stars, or characters plagued by bigger-than-normal problems. Four people, four close friends tied together by a regular golf outing that has gone on for years and years, gather together fo ... Read the rest of entry »

The Humans: Nothing new here - Citadel Theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS, HicksBiz.com

The Humans Citadel Theatre, Shoctor Stage Edmonton, Alberta, Canada January 6 to 27, 2018 Theatre review by GRAHAM HICKS,  hicksbiz.com What is all the fuss about?   Why is a yet another cliche-filled play about yet another dysfunctional American family considered to have been 2016's hottest Broadway property, winning every award in the book? The Humans, having its Canadian premiere at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre January 6 to 27, is about as American soured-apple pie as it gets. Rebellious aspiring musician younger daughter Brigid, currently bartending, is living in a dingy two-floor apartment with her boyfriend in New York City's Chinatown. Ambitious older daughter Aimee is about to be fired from her  law firm, mainly because her medical problems are eating into her billing hours.  And her girlfriend has broken up with her. Mom and Dad, Deirdre and Erik, are devout but liberal-minded Catholics, on good terms with the daughters but still nagging them a ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Rebel Food & Drink a great neighbourhood fit BY GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, January 2, 2018

REBEL FOOD & DRINK 9112 142 STREET 780-752-7325 CENTURYHOSPITALITY.COM/REBEL Mon. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sat. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $30; loaded, $60 Food:  3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Rebel Food & Drink takes the old – the idea of a neighbourhood-based eatery/bar – shines it up, modernizes and makes it trendy.   But it’s still the place to meet your pals for a drink, or bring the family if nobody wants to cook. And if you’re over .05 thanks to half-price wine Wednesdays, you can walk (cab/UBER) home without breaking the bank, then come back in the morning to get your car. It may have been partially circumstantial, but the latest concept from Chris Lachance’s Century Hospitality Group (Lux, Delux, MKT, Hart’s, Parlour) hits all the right buttons. Piccolino’s had been an old-style village Italian eatery, an inner-west end fixture ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Expecting a decent 2018 by GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, Dec. 30, 2017

You have to be careful, sticking your head out of the foxhole to gaze out on 2018. The odds on said head being blown off are fairly alarming. Nobody ever gets this prediction game right. But, fingers crossed, luck being with us, global events giving us tailwinds, 2018 should be a reasonably decent year for business, employment and quality of life in northern Alberta (for our purposes, Edmonton and everything north of Edmonton). “Reasonably decent” is highly contextual.  For the province as a whole, the Alberta government’s forecasters are looking at a 2.5 per cent growth rate for 2018. Which will be less than the four per cent growth rate being left behind in 2017. Don’t forget three big factors. It’s terrific the economy did well this year, and will keep growing (hopefully) at 2.5% for 2018. But the previous two years were awful, a negative four per cent economic growth in 2015, and another negative four per cent growth in 2016. We have not caught up to ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Looking back at Edmonton cuisine in 2017 BY GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 27, 2017

Oh the food memories of 2017 … The sweet plantain fries plus spicy shrimp/melted cheese arepas at Rolando Sandrea’s Avila Arepa Urban Venezuelan Kitchen … The lamb shoulder stew on noodles at the Bedouin Experience … Any of the ramen soups at Tokiwa … LOFT Thai Eatery’s Thai-Italian fusion confit duck leg with Thai curry. We lost the Alberta Hotel & Grill’s take on duck breast when that restaurant closed, but the same room has re-opened as the exciting Revel, with Chef Tony Krause’s octopus cassoulet. LUX stepped out of its steak house mentality by adding a deep-fried and battered whole-fish Pacific snapper to the menu. Takami Sushi’s deluxe sashimi floated in a soft bed of dry ice. Tang Bistro has finally offered Edmonton authentic regional Chinese cuisine. Real fish ‘n’ chips came from Jesse Morrison Gauthier’s Grandin Fish ‘n’ Chips. The best dessert ever tasted in Greater Edmonton was in St. Albert, being ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: No coal in Edmonton's stockings this year BY GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 21, 2017

Santa, you have already given Edmonton the best gift we could have asked for. In 2017, Metro Edmonton somehow avoided slipping into recession. Business-wise, things weren’t great, but they weren’t bad … and way better than 2016 which was an annus horribilis year. The oil patch has learned to live with $50 a barrel oil (the benchmark $50 US for West Texas Intermediate). Of late, oil prices have looked positively balmy, floating up to $55 to $60. Residential construction surprisingly picked up strength as the year went by … pent-up demand, confidence on the part of home-buyers, more young couples with good jobs, readying for kids. As the Stantec and JW Marriott towers reach ever skyward, the Ice District construction employment has been a saving grace. The Valley LRT has also dented the unemployment ranks with that project now in its intensive construction phase. The impact, or lack thereof, of oil and gas on Northern Alberta’s economy is increasingly complex. ... Read the rest of entry »