Retrospective: The 12 months in Edmonton eating places

Looking back at 2022, a common theme of gratitude emerged from Edmonton restaurants that made it through the restrictions that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic, says a longtime observer of Edmonton’s food scene.

“In all the conversations with all the local restaurants that managed to survive or expanded in the last year, the common theme was that they all recognize that many Edmontonians went out of their way to support local,” said Sharon Yeo, the blogger behind Only Here for the Food and a frequent Taproot contributor on the food beat.

“That was something that I heard over and over again, that people are appreciative of the customers that are loyal in these times.”

Will those customers be willing and able to continue offering that support in 2023? “I want to remain optimistic that folks will not take the local food scene for granted,” Yeo said. But while the restrictions have eased, the pandemic has not disappeared, and a recession seems imminent amid efforts to control inflation, limiting some people’s ability to eat out. Next year could be a tough one.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if local restaurants continue to announce their closure,” she said. “Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re at the end.”

While Edmonton lost Blue Plate Diner, June’s Delicatessen, Ohana Donuts, and Juniper Cafe and Bistro and others in 2022, it also gained a number of new restaurants, some of them instigated by developers looking for independents with proven track records to set up shop.

That’s what drew the team behind Woodwork and Bar Clementine to Glenora’s West Block to open leopard. other Black Pearl Seafood Bar‘s decision to open a second location in Windermere, amid the big-name chains like PF Chang’s and California Pizza Kitchen, also reflects a developer’s interest in creating a dining destination.

“It’s good business to have a vacant space filled,” said Yeo, adding that it makes sense to form a relationship with a tenant that will likely last as “they’ve already demonstrated some success in the market and hopefully can bring that success to a new place.”

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