YOU calling Winnipeg cheap?
Meet two local entrepreneurs willing to make the leap of faith in the idea hundreds of Winnipeggers will spend $85 to have dinner on the ice.
The chi-chi concept is courtesy of art gallery director Joe Kalturnyk and city chef Mandel Hitzer.
Hitzer, 30, owner of restaurant Deer + Almond on Princess Street, and Kalturnyk, 33, director of the Raw: Gallery on McDermot Avenue, will open a pop-up restaurant later this month at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. The restaurant's dining hall will be inside a steel and aluminum cone-shaped structure and its kitchen in a semi-attached cube.
Washrooms for the restaurant will be in heated trailers nearby, said Kalturnyk.
"People love food here," said Kalturnyk. "I think it's a food city. We're embracing winter. We're embracing the river."
He said the project is about "re-engaging the city" and "re-engaging how we use the city."
"You can feel it when you go to other cities that Winnipeg is a food city," he said.
The 20-seat restaurant -- called Raw: almond -- will be in business from Jan. 24 to Feb. 13.
It will have three sittings each night, and $85 covers the cost of a five-course tasting menu prepared by one of the city's most-hyped chefs. Drinks, tax and tip are more.
Hitzer will work with a rotating cast of chefs, who will each be at the restaurant for three-day shifts. There will also be breakfast and lunch available to order from the menu on weekends, by Talia Syrie of the Tallest Poppy on Main Street.
The pop-up restaurant doesn't come cheap. Kalturnyk said there's been at least $15,000 invested in the structure alone.
"The bills are still coming in, so I don't know," he said. "It's a lot for a couple guys (who are) on a wing and a prayer."
He said there's a "possibility" he could lose money on the project. "I would encourage people to come and try it... " he said.
"But a part of me is like, in a way, it's a no-brainer. It's an amazing experience and they're all really great chefs."
A Manitoba Health spokesman said its "health inspection unit is aware of this proposed restaurant."
"They have met with the proprietors, the proprietors have submitted a plan and that plan is currently under review," said the spokesman.
"The restaurant will have to meet all of the requirements for a temporary food establishment... if all conditions are met, they will receive a temporary food-service permit."