Consuming Notes: Edmonton will get taco stands and a brand new espresso queen, however loses a beloved brisket

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Tom Murray Melissa Sabourin is the owner and general manager of the new Cafe La Reine on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton. Melissa Sabourin is the owner and general manager of the new Cafe La Reine on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton. Photo by Larry Wong /Postal media

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When Melissa Sabourin responded to a call for help last March, she never realized that it would lead to her becoming the queen of the cafe.

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“I was looking for work and this job just happened,” says Sabourin, café manager and co-owner of Café La Reine, 8927D 82 Ave., which is loosely translated from French as “Queen’s Coffee”.

However, it turned out that the position was something more than just the cafe manager job that she had expected.

“They were looking for someone to share and run the shop with them, which is more than I thought. My partners actually came up with the name, I think I’m the queen of the cafe. That was definitely a big confidence boost. “

A dream also came true for Sabourin, a graduate of NAIT’s Hospitality Management Program. The 22-year-old planned to work in the food and beverage industry at a young age and although she loves to bake, she never wanted to get into the business in that role. Now she has the opportunity to build a business from scratch with the owners of the building where the similarly French-inspired Amandine Café once served coffee and pastries and where Café La Reine resides.

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“Instead of leasing the space from someone, the clients wanted to do something of their own there,” explains Sabourin. “They found me through the Instagram page I had to bake, and for my second interview with them, I showed them a full business proposal that they liked. So we put together a rough budget and they said we could speak if anything goes beyond that. It’s really cool to be working on something that I’m involved in. It’s my project, they call it my baby. “

Sabourin and her staff will be tinkering with the menu as they keep an eye on the ever-changing health regulations throughout the spring and summer. Their “phase one” menu includes several different types of sandwiches and salads, as well as the expected French pastries; easy to prepare items that hold up well for takeout orders. As the opening progresses, they will expand their options, supported by Sabourin’s handpicked team.

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“I just finished all of my staff last week, so now we’re in the planning and training phase,” she says. “Many of the employees have connections that I made, for example one of my bakers is a friend of mine who I went to school with; she is really talented. ”

Sabourin says Cafe la Reine will tentatively hold a soft opening for friends, family and neighborhood visits next Tuesday, followed by a grand opening on June 15th.

Check the cafe’s IG or Facebook page for confirmation closer to the date. As for the future, Sabourin will remain true to the business for some time while it is on its feet, but she has other endeavors in mind as well.

“If I were to look that far ahead, I would probably want to open something else,” she says. “Like a whisper bar or a taco bar. Each place would be very unique, but still owned by the same person, so it is in no way a corporate or chain restaurant. “

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Taco stand

Calle Mexico co-owners and chefs Juan Talango and Angelica Del Carmen look back for their newest venture.

In addition to their three popular brick-and-mortar restaurants and two food trucks, they added two taco stand trucks so that Edmontons can enjoy Mexican street food in the most traditional way. It is a loving allusion to the couple’s homeland, where taqueries are often set up on practically every corner, sometimes two or three of which are vying for customers. According to Talango, we can thank Lorne Merrick, former owner of Fat Franks, for inspiring him to take the plunge.

“I always had an idea in my head for more authentic food on the street. When Lorne sold his company, I told him I liked his idea but wanted a taco stand instead, ”Talango says. “He told me it was a great idea and helped me with a lot of the information I needed to get things started. Lorne is my friend; I didn’t want to compete with him when he owned Fat Franks, but now that he isn’t, why not? I don’t think there are other Mexican restaurants around here that have the same concept. “

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The connection to Edmonton’s favorite late night hot dog stand is made even clearer by the fact that one of Talango’s first taco stands will be a modified Fat Frank cart. You can expect to see him downtown sometime next week, right before the second car ordered from a Vancouver company. Talango plans to make the second booth available for private rentals as it plans the number of outdoor parties for this summer.

They are loaded, cleaned and stored at the restaurant’s location on 104 Street, where Talango and his wife supervise the preparation and preparation of the food and guarantee the quality of the Calle Mexico brand.

“They are small so the menu will be simple, a few different types of tacos, but I think we can bring in a few other things in the future,” Talango says. “There are a lot of snacks in Mexico that we could try, things like corn on the cob with mayonnaise, lime and chilli.”

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Having a few more outdoor dining options in the second summer of COVID-19 seems like a smart plan, and Talango hopes it will take off.

“We have these two to start with, but if they turn out to be popular I’ll order more,” he says. “I think they will because my friends are all saying the same thing that we have to do this.”

DeRose Bros.

On other news, it looks like DeRose Bros. Meats has it all. including their delicious brisket sandwiches on Thursday. No reason was given, but they left us an Instagram post announcing the sad decision.

Eat & Search

Alberta artists and local restaurants get an equal boost at Kingsway Mall with Eat & Seek, a new interactive art installation. Located on the west side of the mall near the main entrance, Eat & Seek is a collaboration between Calgary-based muralist Nicole Wolf and Edmonton creative Chris Provin’s symbols in a larger-than-life word search, try an unconventional jumping game, and explore puddles of magnetic Color in the middle of a huge, mysterious grid. ”

Eat & Seek is now open and will run until fall 2021.

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