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This article was published 23/10/2014 (2805 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A British architecture firm has won the right to design the pop-up restaurant on the Assiniboine River this winter.
Sheffield-based OS31 beat an international field with a design featuring three separate dining spaces, a bar and a buffer zone to minimize the arctic air that seeps in through the door.
Raw: Almond will run from Jan. 22 to Feb. 11. Tickets cost $100 and will go on sale just before Christmas. The entire run sold out in both 2013 and 2014.
Mandel Hitzer, Raw: Almond's co-founder and director, said its panel of judges liked OS31's ideas for using space and trapping as much heat as possible.
"One of our biggest challenges is the cold. That's our biggest problem. It was -50 C last year," he said, before adding, "It's the coolest ticket in the city."
Tony Broomhead, architect at OS31, said the idea of building a restaurant on two feet of ice was something he had never thought of before.
"Doing a fine-dining experience in extreme conditions was an opportunity that we felt we couldn't miss. We felt we had to submit an application," he said.
Broomhead said once diners sit down at tables, he expects they'll forget about the cold.
"The inside design wasn't necessarily about being in the middle of the snow but being cosy with your friends in a sociable setting," he said.
Hitzer, who is also the chef at Deer + Almond in the Exchange District, is finalizing his lineup of chefs and expects to have some of the best from across North America serving Winnipeggers.
"We open up the best restaurant in the city (on the river). It's only open 21 days, and what makes it the best is it features the city's best talent. It's unique to Winnipeg and Canada. Nobody else is doing what we're doing," he said.
There will also be a charitable component to the mid-winter run, but Hitzer hasn't finalized it yet. Last year, he slept outdoors in a Mountain Equipment Co-op tent without a heater for three consecutive weeks.
Broomhead hasn't been to Winnipeg before -- he has been to Banff, so he knows a little about snow -- but he'll arrive about 10 days before the first customers to oversee the construction.
"I'm looking forward to having a really nice meal there as well," he said.