Last year’s Eats on 118 food tour, which encouraged people to try 118 Avenue area restaurants, was such a success that three tours are being held this year. April’s tour is already past, but two tours are scheduled for June 28 and August 30.
“What got it started was a workshop called Leading the Way,” said Joachim Holtz, executive director of Alberta Avenue Business Association (AABA). “We thought, ‘what can we do to help the hospitality businesses?’ Restaurants feel recessions a lot on their bottom lines.”
June’s tour will feature The Duck Taphouse and Grill, Lan’s Asian Grill, Plaza Bowling Co, and possibly one more.
Alex Halabi has owned The Duck Taphouse and Grill on 118 Avenue and 104 Street since 2004. The area has changed since then, due in large part to the Avenue Initiative Revitalization.
“Community involvement is so important. Ten years ago, it was really rough. It’s gotten a lot better—cleaner, safer. You just need to get people to come here and check it out,” he said.
Customers like city staff, NAIT instructors, and NAIT students love frequenting The Duck Taphouse and Grill. Signatures from students in trade programs like millwrighting adorn walls and areas around the bar.
Since I interview Halabi in the early afternoon, it’s quiet but has a friendly feel. Halabi offers a mixture of pub fare such as a steak sandwich or pizza and Mediterranean food like hummus and babaganoush. He’s not sure what he’ll be offering tour participants, but people can look forward to a great experience.
“It’s pretty nice here,” said Halabi. “Quiet, clean, good atmosphere.”
Right around the corner is Lan’s Asian Grill. Tom Lim is one of the owners of the family-owned business on 118 Avenue and 103 Street. They serve southeast Asian cuisine, or as Lim explained, “Mainly Thai with spots of Vietnamese.” They also make their own ice cream, which Lim said they try to keep as natural as possible.
The brightly-light and simply decorated restaurant has been in the 118 Avenue location for almost 10 years. Lim said he thinks Eats on 118 is a great idea.
“I think it’s something 118 should have,” he said. “We have some fantastic restaurants on the Ave. It’s an opportunity to bring people to us.”
He said it’s also a chance to change people’s perception of the area.
“There are some great business owners around here who’ve made it a great place to eat and to play,” he said.
Lim hasn’t yet decided what Lan’s Asian Grill will be offering, since at the time of the interview he had just confirmed participation in the tour. But if the amazing smells are any indication, participants will be in for a treat.
“What better excuse to come and visit?” asked Lim. “You’ve got tickets!”
Tickets are $40 and are available on alberta-avenue.com.
EATS ON 118
June 28, 6-8 pm
Feature image: Tom Lim, one of the owners of Lan’s Asian Grill, holds ice cream made in-house. | Talea Medynski