On Sunday, February 26, 2012 we are transforming the pedway across 101 Street that connects Commerce Place and Scotia Place into a sixty seat pop-up restaurant called Blink. The single-night-only restaurant will feature a delicious six-course meal prepared by chefs Paul Shufelt and Tony Le of Century Hospitality/Lux. Sharon and I have been working on this for quite a while, so we’re very happy to announce that tickets are on sale now!
Pop-up restaurants are all the rage in major cities like New York and London and they’ve started to become popular elsewhere too. The term “pop-up restaurant” is used to mean various things, but I think about three main categories of pop-ups: kitchen takeovers (a chef takes over an existing restaurant’s kitchen and space to create something new), temporary dining spaces (there may not be a kitchen on-site, but some sort of space has been transformed into a dining room), and full-on temporary restaurants (empty spaces completely transformed into restaurants outfitted with kitchens for a short period of time). We’ve had some kitchen takeovers here in Edmonton, but Blink is the first temporary dining space (we’ll have to wait for our first full-on temporary restaurant, an undertaking which requires considerable expense).
When we started discussing the idea for Blink, Sharon was immediately drawn to a pedway. We both love the idea of utilizing forgotten or neglected spaces, so a pedway seemed perfect. When was the last time you stopped in a pedway to look out the window? We walked through the pedways downtown, looking for power outlets, measuring dimensions, etc. We had a few candidate bridges, but decided that we needed a chef on board with the idea first. Knowing that Lux was conveniently located in Commerce Place, we approached Tony and thankfully he agreed to take part in our project right away! That made narrowing the pedway choice down to the one connecting Commerce Place and Scotia Place much easier.
Next we worked on getting the necessary approvals in place. Jim Taylor, executive director of the Downtown Business Association, was incredibly helpful in that regard. He introduced us to the building managers, and helped us track down the owner of the pedway (we discovered as part of this process that ownership is uncertain for many parts of the pedway system). Everyone really liked the idea, so we quickly started working out the logistics. Thank you to the DBA, GWL Reality Advisors (on behalf of Commerce Place), Morguard Investments (on behalf of Scotia Place), and DECL for helping us make this pop-up restaurant happen!
We’ve got some work to do still, but our goal is for Blink to look and feel as much like a real restaurant as possible. We have decided to go with a communal table for seating, to enhance the experience of eating in a unique space with other Edmontonians. The menu makes my mouth water every time I read it, with dishes like confit rabbit pot pie and Alberta pickerel – where possible it features local ingredients. Tickets are $65, which I think is a great deal for six courses, and a cash bar will be available as well. The restaurant will open at 5pm for cocktails, with dinner service beginning at 6pm.
We hope to see you on February 26 at Blink in the pedway!
You can read Sharon’s post on Blink here.