HicksBiz Blog

Hicks Weekly Dish: Farewell to fine dining By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 25, 2018

Drunken Ox at Night, Sober Cat in the Morning.Shaughn Butts / Postmedia Lay a wreath, make a moment of silence to mourn the death of fine dining in Edmonton. Fine dining – white linen tablecloths, napkins, crystal wine glasses, an array of cutlery, well-dressed servers serving with tongs – left us in 2018. Oh, there’s a scattered few  – Hardware Grill, The Harvest Room, La Ronde at the top of the Chateau Lacombe, Ruth’s Chris, Madison’s – but Characters is gone, Alta didn’t make it, and Gini’s Fine Dining in the west end is soon to close its doors. The top restaurants in town, led by RGE RD and Corso 32, are all startlingly casual. At Captain’s Boil, hot, fresh seafood comes in plastic bags for eating by hand. Which is sad, but inevitable. Formality is a trait that’s all but disappeared in Edmonton for everything but high-school grads. Even then, jeans, open-neck shirts and sports jackets are considered “f ... Read the rest of entry »

Adopt-A-Teen: We're in the final stretch By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 22, 2018

A stack of thank you cards from Adopt-A-Teen recipients.Claire Theobald / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS It’s coming down to the end of the third period, the ninth inning, the last furlough. The final push is on. With Christmas around the corner, The Christmas Bureau is at 80 per cent of its goal of raising $1.3 million to provide a festive dinner for those 15,000 less fortunate families who are our neighbours. Within those families, the Edmonton Sun’s Adopt-A-Teen Christmas gift program has undertaken to provide 6,000 teens with a Christmas gift: a $50 Walmart gift card purchased with your donations. Adopt-A-Teen, as of Friday, December 21, was 81 per cent on its way to its goal. The good news — enough funds have been raised to give 4,850 teens a gift. But $57,500 is still needed to cover the gift card costs for the remaining 1,150 teens. The good news — The Christmas Bureau has 12,000 underprivileged families covered for their Christmas meal. But another $2 ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: A contradictory year for business in Edmonton By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 21, 2018

Hundreds of truckers joined the Truck Convoy in Nisku on December 19, 2018 to support the oil and gas industry in Alberta.Larry Wong / POSTMEDIA NETWORK By GRAHAM HICKS What a contradictory year 2018 has been for metropolitan Edmonton’s business community. On the one hand, Edmonton entrepreneurs are growing super frustrated. For the fourth year in a row, they’ve been double-clutching through non-stop muck, barely making any progress, seeing profit margins drop from 10 or 20 per cent to two-to-three per cent, dipping into the red ink for longer and longer periods of time. The doors are staying open, but barely. The big truck convoy protest out at Nisku earlier this week, 2,000 trucks strong, gave shape to that  frustration. The ‘S’ word — separation — no matter how hypothetical, is working its way back into the political conversation. On the other hand, there’s growing resiliency and resolve. The small-to-medium sized enterprise ... Read the rest of entry »

Adopt-A-Teen: Time is running out to help local kids and families By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 19, 2018

Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe talks to a sold out crowd of 650 people at the 14th annual Faceoff Against Hunger Luncheon at the Shaw Conference Centre on Friday Dec 13, 2013. The event raised an estimated $150,000 to help local charities through the Edmonton Oilers Foundation. $100,000 was gifted to the Christmas Bureau at the start of the event. Tom Braid/Edmonton Sun/QMI AgencyTom Braid / Tom Braid/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency By GRAHAM HICKS We all know how it is. You’ve been meaning to donate to Adopt-A-Teen and The Christmas Bureau. But life gets in the way:  Grandma needs help with her Christmas shopping, your pal needs emotional support, the kids actually want somebody to cook their supper … That’s life. But this, too, is life. Six days before Christmas, The Christmas Bureau is 60.9% of the way to its goal, and still has 6,800 families to feed. Adopt-A-Teen is at 68% of its goal to provide 6,000 under-privileg ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: OEB Breakfast Co — the power breakfast has arrived in Edmonton! By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 18, 2018

The Farmer John's Delight omlette is one of 70 items on the trendy new OEB downtown breakfast spot. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton OEB Breakfast Co. 10174 100A St.  (Kelly-Ramsey Building) 587-520-0936 eatoeb.com Reservations: by phone weekdays, weekend wait list No listed delivery service Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weekends and holidays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $25; loaded $50 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS The biggest problem at the OEB Breakfast Company (besides trying to remember if it’s OEB, EOB or BEO – it stands for Over Easy Breakfast) is where to start? The new downtown  breakfast emporium has 70 different dishes – everything under the prairie sky, as long as it has some connection to eggs, waffles, French toast or bagels. At lunch (it’s open until 3 p.m.) you could even order a Moroccan-Style Alberta Lamb Burge ... Read the rest of entry »

ADOPT-A-TEEN: Oilers past and present step up to help youth By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 17, 2018

Another auction item: This framed and autographed famous Wayne Gretzky photo shot by Tom Braid. This time around, Adopt-A-Teen is the recipient of Tom and Don’s largesse. “I always loved Adopt-A-Teen, ever since it started at The Sun,” says Tom. “Ultimately these teens are tomorrow’s adults and civic leaders.  I think this program has an impact on teens well beyond Christmas gifts.” Says Don: “I have a 17-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son. It’s a special age, the teen years. Some of their friends come from difficult homes. My wife and I try to open our hearts and our home to them. They need to know that others care for them. “And this is my way of thanking Tom for all he’s done – by supporting a cause that’s dear to both our hearts.” Tom will be taking auction bids by phone, please call 780-965-1838.  We’ll start at $3,000 – the retail value of the framed/autographed Connor McDavid sweater and th ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: From Parking to pepper to pux vs. pipelines By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 14, 2018

A cyclist rides on a designated bicycle lane on 102 Avenue near 117 Street in downtown Edmonton on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017.Larry Wong / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS STUFF PEPPER UP MY NOSE, THEN CALL ME SNEEZY Edmonton City Council has done everything possible to deter downtown parking – bike lanes, complicating intersections, complicating signage, jacking up parking rates, narrowing roads, removing roads, removing parking spaces. And then, as downtown businesses complain, claim it’s just the price to be paid for becoming a big city. Then city councilors feign shock when informed of a $45 million (!!!) downtown parking revenue shortfall! RESPONSIBLE RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT – WHAT A CONCEPT! Isn’t it great to see so many First Nations in B.C. and Alberta lining up in support of responsible resource development, arguing that recent federal government and appeal court decisions are denying them the right to a better standard of life?  How will the feds argue in court ... Read the rest of entry »

ADOPT-A-TEEN: Messages from those who give By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 14, 2018

Dan Johnstone, also known as Can Man Dan, shows off food collected during his third of four campouts raising donations and awareness for the Edmonton Food Bank outside the Sobey's grocery store at 16943 127 St. on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. Johnstone's seventh annual camp out raised over $55,000 and 50,000 kilograms of food donations for the Edmonton Food Bank.Claire Theobald / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS We dress up Christmas charity campaigns with sentimental Yuletide images. We glaze our words with the Christmas spirit. We read or watch Charles Dickens’ enduring A Christmas Carol with warm fuzzy feelings, reflecting on Ebenezer Scrooge’s wondrous Christmas conversion  from miser to philanthropist (somebody who gives away a lot of money). But it comes down to hard, cold cash. Adopt-A-Teen is committed to providing 6,000 teens from less-than-privileged Edmonton families with a $50 Walmart Adopt-A-Teen gift card. That’s $300,000 worth of gift cards. So if you c ... Read the rest of entry »

ADOPT-A-TEEN: Heart-warming responses from under-privileged youth By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 13, 2018

Edmonton Sun columnist Graham Hicks holds up Wal-Mart gift cards for Adopt-A-Teen at the Edmonton Sun studio in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. Hicks started Adopt-A-Teen 15 years ago. Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun/QMI AgencyCodie McLachlan / Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun By GRAHAM HICKS During the 18 years I chaired the Edmonton Sun’s annual Adopt-A-Teen Christmas gift program for underprivileged teens, I will admit to some minor despair. In the program’s early years, legal advisors pointed out the original Adopt-A-Teen process — connecting families with teens needing gifts to families wanting to help — could land my newspaper in hot legal water if anything went wrong. We had to switch to buying gift cards that are now mailed out to teens in all the Edmonton under-privileged families registered with the Edmonton Christmas Bureau or The Salvation Army. It’s a good system. Your donations are used to purchase an Adopt-A-Teen’s $50 Walmart gift ... Read the rest of entry »

Adopt-A-Teen: The Christmas charity volunteer armada is on its way! By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun December 12, 2018

John Paul Janssens (right) and John Marks load gifts on to Janssens truck during the second day of deliveries for 630 CHED's Santas Anonymous in Edmonton, Alberta on Sunday, December 18, 2016. Volunteers through the charitable organization deliver gifts and Christmas cheer to families in need across the city. Ian Kucerak / Postmedia FileKucerak, Ian / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS A volunteer armada is about to descend on our city. The upcoming weekend (Dec. 15 and 16, 2018) is delivery day(s) for two of the three Edmonton Christmas charities  that work hand-in-glove to make sure every child in the city, from toddler to 17-year-old, has a Christmas gift, that every family can sit down to a delicious Christmas dinner without worrying about the cost. Thousands – literally – of volunteer drivers will rally at the Santa’s Anonymous new permanent home in the  Jerry Forbes Centre (12122-68 Street – close to the now-closed Coliseum), to pick up and delivery toys to ... Read the rest of entry »