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Open, closed and coming soon

Well, it’s not the December anyone wanted, least of all bar and restaurant owners who have been forced to cancel lucrative holiday parties and reinstate capacity limits in their dining rooms. That said, even prior to Omicron, it’s been another strange year of food service.

We revisited all the weirdness that was pandemic dining in 2021 with a year-in-review piece published this week — which you can find here — and have included an abridged version in today’s newsletter. Keep reading for a round-up of local food and drink openings, closures and forthcoming ventures.

 


 

Open

Laura Gurbhoo has been selling her vegan, sustainable baking online and at farmers markets, but now she finally has a storefront location on Sargent Avenue. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Food-wise, in the West End, Gâto Bakeshop and Gladys Caribbean Kitchen opened on Sargent Ave., while Habesha, an Ethiopian restaurant, set up shop on Ellice Ave., and Not A Donut brought mochi desserts to Langside St. Both Osborne St. north and south saw a swath of new tenants, including Zaytoon, Tabula Rasa and Park Alleys. James Avenue Pumphouse moved into an historic Exchange District building and Supreme Macaroni Co., a Mitchell Block side hustle, is now here to stay on McDermot Ave. The Palm Lounge at the Fort Garry Hotel recently reopened as The Oval Room Brasserie, with a refreshed look and menu.

Outside of the city’s core, Gol’s Lanzhou Noodle opened on Pembina Hwy., Baan Thai set up in St. James St., Damecca launched in the Polo Park area and Foodtrip Kitchen added a new location on Regent Ave., to name a few.

Bernhard Wieland behind the counter of his brewing space in the basement of the German Society of Winnipeg. (Mike Sudoma / Winnipeg Free Press files)

On the local beer front, Bernhard Wieland Brewing, run out of the basement of the German Society of Winnipeg on Charles St., joined the fray this fall, selling small-batch, German-inspired beer via the Schnitzelhaus. Brandon’s Black Wheat Brewing Co. opened its Brandon brewery and taproom in early summer, while over in Steinbach the Public Brewhouse and Gallery turned on the taps just weeks ago.

Jesse Oberman of Next Friend Cider has released two bottlings of apple-based cider, which he made at Barn Hammer Brewing Co.’s Wall St. facility. (Mikaela Mackenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

The local cider front saw plenty of action in 2021. In Winnipeg, Jesse Oberman and his Next Friend Cider released the first of their small-batch ciders this past summer, made mainly from fruit foraged from local backyards. Winkler’s Dead Horse Cider finished their tap/tasting room in late September, while Pilot Mound’s Wooden Gate started selling their lone (for now) product, the Prairie Romance cherry cider, back in late November.

Also launching this past summer was Nifty Drinks, a joint venture between Patent 5 Distillery and Nonsuch Brewing Co., who launched with a pair of hard seltzers.

Closed

Royal Fork assistant manager, Alma Frankow worked at the Royal Fork Buffet for the past five years. (Mike Sudoma / Winnipeg Free Press files)

A number of restaurant closures have made way for new beginnings. Shorty’s Pizza took over the former home of the Bella Vista on Maryland St. in June and, a few blocks over in Wolseley, Ruby West changed hands to become Bonnie Day. The closure of Black Bird Brasserie in Norwood led to the opening of Nola on Tache Ave. and its sister sandwich shop, Second Spot. In the new year, Osborne Village’s Cornerstone Bar and Restaurant will be replaced with a Leopold’s Tavern, which is also preparing to open a fifth local location on Henderson Highway.

Other eateries to close for good this year included Lark, Massawa, Fools and Horses’ flagship Broadway location. The Royal Fork Buffet closed after more than 30 years in business. Last week, Le Garage in St. Boniface joined the list of closures.

Coming soon

Good Neighbour Brewing co-owners (from left) Amber Sarraillon and Morgan Wielgosz. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Sherbrook Street is set to welcome a new food and drink business in January. One Sixteen, located in the former Stella’s restaurant space, is a collaboration between Beer Can creators Brad Chute and Neal McDonald and Good Neighbour Brewing Company operators Morgan Wielgosz and Amber Sarraillon. The concept is part-taproom and part-restaurant featuring a menu from chefs Michael Robins (Sous Sol) and Keegan Misanchuk (Segovia) of Two Hands, a catering and pop-up dining venture. The food and drink components at One Sixteen will be meticulously paired thanks to the help of sommelier and Middle Tap Magazine creator Rob Stansel. Visit onesixteenwpg.com for updates.

The team behind The Roost and Oxbow also appears to have a new venture in the works. Parcel Pizza looks to be a takeout and eat-in pizza place and bar set to open soon at 221-A Stradbrook Ave., east of the Donald bridge. Details are scant, but the business does have a website.

Low Life Barrel House at 398 Daly St. North, owners, Tyler Birch (right) and Adam Carson (left), check out the progress of their brewery being built. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)

The local drinks scene also looks promising for 2022. Having brewed at Barn Hammer for a couple of years now, Low Life Barrel House are finishing renovations to their Daly St. brewery and taproom — and Next Friend Cider is coming with them. Devil May Care, who have been brewing at Torque, are getting a space of their on downtown on Fort St., which they hope to open in spring 2022.

Interlake Brewing has started making beer out of Oxus Brewing’s Sanford St. facility (where Good Neighbour also brews, for now) until they can open their Gimli brewery and tap room in 2022. Dastardly Villain, meanwhile, is brewing at Torque’s King Edward St. facility while plans for a South Osborne nanobrewery continue to take shape.

Know of a new spot opening in your neighbourhood? Reply to this email to let us know.

Tasty tidbits

Is learning more about local food issues on your New Year’s resolution list? Well, you’re in luck: Food Matters Manitoba has been hosting a series of virtual workshops on all kinds of food equity topics. You can watch past discussions and watch for details about their upcoming Jan. 26 event here.

•••

If you’re planning to order from your favourite eatery — for New Year’s Eve or otherwise — be sure to call ahead and/or check their social media accounts. A number of local spots have opted to close for brief periods of time (or through to the new year) due to COVID-19 cases in staff, potential close contacts with people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, or sheerly as a precautionary measure. Here’s hoping they’re all back and bustling on the other side of all this.

Recommended fare

Ben: I recently tried the aforementioned Shorty’s for the first time, and was suitably impressed. While they’ll never fully replace the goodness that was the Bella Vista (and that’s OK), their thin-crust pies will please fans of joints such as Wall Street Slice. (They also make some killer meatballs.) Shorty’s is dine-in and takeout only for now, but I can’t imagine it will be long before there’s some delivery in the cards.

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Near the outset of the pandemic I finally got around to reading Emily St. John Mandel’s critically acclaimed 2017 novel Station Eleven. And while I was initially skeptical about reading a novel about a post-pandemic society — you know, while navigating a real-life pandemic — the book’s brilliant storyline and deep humanity won me over and gave me a sense of hope.

The 10-part miniseries based on the novel just premiered on HBO Max in the U.S., and weekly episodes are being rolled in Canada on Crave. I’ve not started the series but have heard all manner of great things, and am looking forward to tackling this one to kick off 2022. St. John Mandel’s next novel, Sea of Tranquility, is coming in April.

Eva: At the request of my partner, who is very into fantasy novels, I’ve been watching Wheel of Time, a television adaptation based on the Robert Jordan books of the same name, on Amazon Prime. If you liked Game of Thrones, this might appeal as it’s full of mythical creatures and epic worldbuilding. I haven’t read any of the 14 (!!) books in the series and can still understand what’s going on. Most of the time.

I finally made it to Nola for dinner last week and am still thinking about the loaded baked potato gnocchi. The gunpowder roast carrots were also a highlight and I’m already plotting my return, sans vegetarian friend, to try the reuben gyozas and beef tartare.

What’s simmering

The Winnipeg Free Press celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2022 and the paper is planning a series of special events and publications to mark the occasion — one of which may or may not be food-related. Keep an eye out for announcements in the new year.

Recipes and reviews

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: As is tradition, the Free Press published its annual series of holiday cookie recipes in the lead up to Christmas. You can find all of this year’s submissions  — which include vegan gingersnaps from former Blue Bomber John Rush and white chocolate pumpkin cookies from NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine — and recipes from previous years here.

When she’s not at work as the MLA for St. Johns, Nahanni Fontaine is baking cakes or large batches of, for example, her White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookie. (Supplied)

 


 

This is our last Dish newsletter of the year, and we want to thank you for taking the time to read our ramblings. If you’ve enjoyed Dish and think you know someone else who might as well, feel free to forward it to a friend or direct them to sign up to receive the newsletter. And, of course, subscribing to the Free Press helps support local reporting on food, drinks, arts and life and so much more.

We wish you a happy new year full of good food, good drink and good health!

— Ben and Eva

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