Sad news as Solstice Seasonal Cuisine to close doors in mid-February
Chef Jan Trittenbach of Solstice Regional Cuisine has twice won the prestigious Gold Medal Plates competition. John Lucas / Postmedia
Chef Jan Trittenbach and managing partner Jon Elson are considering their options as Solstice Regional Cuisine shifts to another business model.
After four years on 124 St., Elson acknowledges that, at the end of the day, not enough people were coming into the restaurant to make it a viable business. The restaurant will close in its present format on Feb. 16.
“We were idealistic enough to think that just making good food and drink would be enough,” says Elson.
Trittenbach won the top prize at Edmonton’s Gold Medal Plates competition in 2015 and in 2011. A former chef at Packrat Louie, he created Solstice to reflect the changing of the seasons, featuring fresh and local ingredients artfully presented.
Elson notes that rising food costs have played into the restaurant’s closure, and the shaky economy has also had an impact. He says the recent minimum wage hike was not a factor.
“It’s bittersweet … we’ve made a lot of sacrifices, but at a certain point, you can only make so many,” says Elson.
The chef/managing partner duo is looking at another restaurant concept that they hope to execute by year’s end.
“There’s a lot of different focuses you can take, whether it’s something events-based, a neighbourhood concept, something delivery-focussed,” he says.”Everyone is trying to predict the next wave that’s going to take hold. We’re looking at the right combination of our personality, skill set and the marketplace.
“We feel we have a good foundation and moving forward, we can make something sustainable.”
After Feb. 16, the restaurant will still be open for a time for food delivery via Skip the Dishes (there will be no inside, table service) and as an event space. Watch Eat My Words Blog for more information about Trittenbach and Elson’s new venture as it becomes available.
I’m also sorry to report that one of my favourite downtown, breakfast and lunch-time eateries, has also shuttered its location near Churchill Square after eight years in operation. Sequel Café (10011 102 Ave.) made fabulous soups and sandwiches, and I will miss their corn chowder and, in particular, their black bean soup. The owners made the announcement on Twitter, and promise to be back downtown in another location before too long.
And also, the much-loved Cally’s Teas has also papered over the windows of the Whyte Ave. location. Sigh. I loved those scones, and the charming atmosphere at the shop, which opened in 2012. I spoke to owner Cally Slater-Dowson, who (not surprisingly) is not content to retire. She’s looking for another place to sell her line of teas, and will let me know when she’s found her new niche.
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