Folks on Alberta Ave love parties. On June 14, Simba’s Den Pub & Bistro and Norwood Dental Centre hosted a roaring neighbourhood meet and greet at the restaurant.
The restaurant was packed, with owner Senait Tamene and her staff busy serving platters of Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. Meanwhile, William Chin and his fiancee Amanda Nielsen from Norwood Dental Centre introduced themselves to their new neighbours.
Tamene said she’s always had a vision for running a welcoming, inviting restaurant with quality, homemade food.
“Not that I needed anything to keep me busy,” said Tamene. “I am married with three young boys, who are always my priority. Plus, I am a realtor. But I love to cook and managed a restaurant in Toronto before I moved to Edmonton. So when the former tenant moved out of this building, I jumped at the chance to follow my dream.”
Tamene said she opened a restaurant here because she believes in the neighbourhood.
“It has gone through some tough times but it is changing for the better. The people here are positive and helpful. It is like a little town within a big city. You seldom walk down the street without bumping into someone you know and stopping to have a conversation or offering to help.”
Chin and Nielsen joined in the conversation.
“I used to work in a dental clinic in West Edmonton Mall. It was very impersonal. You never got to know anyone, any families. Often the clients would fly in from up north, get some dental work in conjunction with their shopping, and then be gone. We wanted to belong to a community, get to know our patients,” said Chin.
Like Simba’s Den Pub & Bistro, Norwood Dental Centre comes with history—60 years’ worth! “At one point,” Chin commented, “there were five dentists here. This past year, there was only one dentist part time. So it is building the practice from the ground up.”
The proprietors have had to remodel the buildings and re-envision the businesses.
For Chin and Nielsen, this meant making the experience of going to the dentist relaxing and pleasant. They have given their office a real homey feel by providing comfort blankets, Wi-Fi, TV, kids’ toys, aromatherapy, and refreshments. Then of course, there is Nielsen’s effervescent personality to top it all off.
“We are looking forward to putting down roots in this community,” said Nielsen, “Not only as a business but as a family. We have already gotten a good feel of this area from our volunteering with the Avenue festivals.”
Both businesses are experiencing growing pains and the struggles that come with being a new business, but they are off to a good start and they all say they are meeting expectations to date.
Joachim Holtz, executive director of Alberta Avenue Business Association and guest speaker at the joint launch, commented: “Business owners invest their time, money, and themselves in their business—with no guarantees. But it is this type of commitment and courage that it takes to make a business work.”
It certainly helps that this neighbourhood likes a good party, but even more, citizens who invest in making this a better community.
NEW AVENUE BUSINESSES
Simba’s Den Pub & Bistro
9349 118 Ave
Open seven days a week, noon to 10 pm weekdays and to midnight on weekends
Norwood Dental Centre
11660 95 St
Open six days a week
780.474.2456 or [email protected]
Featured Image: Diners sample the fare at Simba’s Den Pub & Bistro during the restaurant and Norwood Dental Centre’s joint launch. | Aydan Dunnigan-Vickruck