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Local Chef and Foodie Saving Fraser Valley Restaurants, Feeding Frontline Hospital Staff

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Bryan Mendiola, owner of The Carvery Sandwich Shop in Surrey, BC, and Craig Turley, local food blogger at Surrey Eats and Fraser Valley Eats, and creator of the new Instagram Take-Out Challenge, have banded together to save local restaurants in Surrey, White Rock, Langley and across the Fraser Valley by providing free meals to local hospital workers.

The fast-moving, donation-based project, Lunches for Healthcare Workers, is now launching phase two of its campaign with a $10,000 fundraising goal.

To date, the program has provided over 900 free meals to frontline hospital staff in the region, and kept The Carvery and other participating small restaurants, such as the Pepperoni Café, Kin Thai Kitchen + Bar, Cotto Al Mare, Hillcrest Bakery, Everbean Café, Chutney’s South Surrey, Sheila’s Catering Company, and Training Day Café & Kitchen operating and in business.

“We’re using this mission to dampen the hardships of the restaurant industry, while sustaining frontline workers,” said Bryan Mendiola, owner of The Carvery Sandwich Shop and initiator of the first viral challenge. “What this crisis has taught us is that we need to start thinking of multi-levelled approaches so we can help as many people as possible in our community.”

Mendiola, a certified Red Seal Chef, was first inspired by stories of hospital workers too tired and overworked to do their own grocery shopping or make lunches for themselves. He began supplying free soup and bread to Peach Arch Hospital at lunchtime.

With restaurant sales plummeting and resources quickly running out, Mendiola decided to launch achallenge to other eateries and launch phase one of the Lunches for Healthcare Workers GoFundMe campaign, which raised over $7000. What started out as a good-samaritan mission has now become a joint effort to keep small restaurant business alive during the COVID-19 shutdowns.

“We are providing local restaurants the orders needed to help them fight another day,” said Turley. “We need to support these restaurants now or they won’t be around in the future. We are healing businesses so they can sustain the hospital workers, who then work to heal us. It is truly the definition of community partnership and reciprocal care.”

Mendiola’s restaurant, which only buys ingredients from local suppliers, has had sustaining community as a central objective since opening its doors in February of 2016.

“We talk a lot about caring for community, but never have we seen a circumstance or opportunity so relevant to that calling,” said Mendiola. “We’re challenging all local restaurants in Surrey, Langley, White Rock and across the Fraser Valley to join us, and challenging all families to donate what they can to feed our frontline heroes.”

The GoFundMe Account for Lunches for Healthcare Workers can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/a83vaj-lunches-for-healthcare-workers.

For those unable to help financially, organizers are asking citizens to share the link online with their networks. Restauranteurs who wish to participate can contact craig@surreyeats.com. Media inquiries may be directed to craig@surreyeats.com

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

Food & Drink

How Dominion Bar + Kitchen is Preparing for Dine in Service in Phase Two of Reopening

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The province of BC has now moved to phase two of reopening, and dining in at restaurants is something many can now look forward to. While this isn’t a go ahead for large friend gatherings at restaurants, it is a sign that things are slowly but positively moving in the right direction.

Dominion Bar + Kitchen is one of the restaurants in Surrey to reopen its doors for customers to dine in. Just like other restaurants in Surrey, Dominion Bar + Kitchen had to adapt to a lot of changes during quarantine.

General manager, Darren Pierce spoke about the restaurant switching to delivery and pickup methods. This was the form of service in place for Dominion Bar + Kitchen until May 25th, when it reopened for customers.

Many guidelines have been put in place in order for the restaurant to properly execute the dine in service. In effort to maintain social distancing, Pierce mentioned the restaurant only allowing in 50 people at a time.

“We’ve [made] sure all of our tables are a minimum of six feet apart, and then we’ve also maxed out each table at six people sitting at a table,” says Pierce.

Along with spacing out customers and maintaining a small number of customers in the restaurant, Dominion Bar + Kitchen has also switched to touchless pay. Pierce also mentioned that hard copy menus have been removed and digital menus are made available.
There are also no cutleries or salt, pepper, and sauces on the tables. Sugars and straws are individually wrapped and delivered to customers when requested. There are multiple sanitizer stations throughout the restaurant, and arrows are used to direct the flow of traffic in the restaurant, according to Pierce.

Dominion Bar + Kitchen has a detailed information sheet from the government around the restaurant which reminds customers to be safe, according to Pierce.

While Dominion Bar + Kitchen has set guidelines for its customers and increased the cleaning at the restaurant. There has also been set guidelines for the staff at the restaurant.

“Upon arrival, all our staff are more than happy to have their temperature checked, and we do a symptom check as well,” says Pierce.
Pierce spoke about how eye opening the lack of customers at the restaurants was and how grateful he was for all the hard work by the government and people of B.C.

“… it definitely opened my eyes [to] how easy something like this can have a massive influence on the business … [and] the people within a business,” says Pierce. “There’s a lot of livelihood at stake and sometimes we take that for granted, … we do provide the bread and butter for the people to pay their bills, make rent, and have a place to live, …. and feed themselves. It’s really opening the eyes to how easily that can all be taken away,” he adds.

“I’d like to acknowledge and commend the amazing work that the B.C. government and the people of B.C. have done. A huge thank you [also] goes out to the front line workers, who were incredibly selfless throughout this entire ordeal and worked to keep us safe, [and] the customers who have supported us while we were closed [by using] our … pickup service and delivery,” says Pierce.

As Dominion Bar + Kitchen continues to work to encourage social distancing and the safety of customers and staff, the restaurant has also introduced some new additions to the menu to ensure the best experience for customers.

“We’ve got a great new menu that just launched on Monday, great new summer and spring items.” says Pierce. “We’re happy to be open and providing a service that I think people really cherish, but we’re doing it under as much precautions as we can,” he adds.

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Food & Drink

Uber Eats Reveals BC’s Top Comfort Foods

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Over the last two months, Uber Eats has helped connect Canadians with their go-to dishes from their favourite restaurants.

Whether it’s to help support local businesses, or taking a break from dinner duty, hungry British Columbians have continued to order their favourite meals for takeout and delivery with Uber Eats. As British Columbia prepares to transition to Phase 2 and the re-opening of restaurants, we looked at the most commonly ordered items.

Comfort food tops the most-ordered food items list British Columbians have been placing over the past few weeks*:

  • Miso Soup
  • Butter Chicken
  • California Roll

But how do BC’s cravings compare to the rest of Canada? Turns out Canada’s favourite foods are really diverse. Here are the top ten most-ordered food items Canadians have been enjoying:

  • Butter Chicken
  • Poutine
  • Miso Soup
  • Pad Thai
  • Naan
  • Fries
  • Bubble Tea
  • Edamame
  • Shawarma
  • Onion Rings

*Data is based on orders placed on Uber Eats between March 16-May 10, 2020.

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Food & Drink

3 Liquor Delivery Options in the Fraser Valley

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Shake up your self-isolation routine with the delivery of your favourite liquor, right to your doorstep. To support customers during this difficult time, many liquor retailers have created new options to safely distribute their products. In response to COVID-19, we have seen a rise in mobile ordering and the availability of liquor through mobile platforms. For those of us who live outside of Vancouver, finding accessible ways to try new products is a great addition to our extra time at home. These three methods of delivery are a great way to change up your beverage options for your next zoom happy hour.

1: LIQR

LIQR is a virtual store experience that offers a huge selection of beer, wine, spirits, and even mixers to craft your own cocktail. Available as an app for both Android and IOS, LIQR is a fast and easy way to order your favourite products at retail prices. Unlike many delivery services, LIQR operates with free next-day delivery and offers loyalty rewards for customers.

Owned by Joseph Richard Group (JRG), the LIQR app offers $10 at any JRG establishment when you order $25 or more. LIQR sells a wide selection of craft beer and premium liquor, for those who are looking for unique offerings. The app currently delivers exclusively to the Fraser Valley region with plans to expand into the Vancouver region soon. Download the app today and start shopping for this weekend’s beverage of choice.

2: Delivery Networks

There are three original delivery apps, Skip the Dishes, Door Dash, and Ubereats, which have been expanding their services to include the delivery of alcohol. These apps offer quick, one-day delivery but at a higher price, once delivery fees are factored in. As COVID-19 progresses, many restaurants have been able to include beer and wine on their take-out menus. This lets them offer more of their business than just the food service alone.

These apps offer a wide variety of locations to choose from. Pricing varies depending on the store you choose to order from.

3: The Bar Cart

For the prestigious cocktail drinkers, a new online service called Bar Cart is now available and can ship right to your door. Bar Cart offers premium craft cocktail kits for those who want more than just a cold beer. All kits come complete with everything you need – alcohol, custom

mixers, and garnish. Everything is delivered to your door, all you have to do is add ice! The menu showcases the Lavish Liquid signature cocktails along with classics you know and love. The Bar Cart is a great option for those who don’t mind spending a bit extra on their order.

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Food & Drink

Support Our Surrey (SOS): Asia Restaurant

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Our latest local business to be featured in Support Our Surrey is Asia Restaurant, located at the north-west corner of 156th Street and Fraser Highway (15551 Fraser Highway, Unit 4) in Fleetwood.

A family owned business since 1989, it has provided local residents with authentic Chinese dishes (it really reminded me of a comforting home cooked meal when I dined there, shortly after moving into the neighbourhood). You can check out their wide variety of dishes here , and bonus, they also serve dim sum!

I spoke with owner, Mr. Fung, and while a predominantly family-run business, their staff has expanded over the years to 10 people. Unfortunately, due to the impacts of COVID-19, Mr. Fung and his wife, along with their two remaining employees, have been busy trying to maintain the operations of their business, and continue to provide the great service to their customers that they are known for.

You can visit their website here for more information, but please note some important updates/information, below:

  • Hours of operation: 11am-8pm (closed on Tuesdays)
  • Dim sum is only available for pick-up, and can be ordered between 11am-3pm
  • 10% off for pick-up (minimum order over $15.00)
  • free delivery with minimum order of $19.99 plus taxes (within 3 miles, after 5pm)
  • available through DoorDash
  • can call to order at 604-583-6828

We look forward to visiting the Fungs at their restaurant again, and hopefully see their staff back at full-force, when we return to normalcy. In the meantime, let’s continue to support our local businesses – I’ve been having a huge craving for dim sum and know where I’ll be ordering from this Victoria Day long weekend.

Everyone – please continue to stay safe and look out for one another!

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Food & Drink

Molson Coors provides 20,000 meals to healthcare heroes and now invites Canadians to help

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In honour of International Nurses Day, Molson Coors Beverage Company in Canada will be providing 20,000 frontline healthcare workers with a meal of their choosing to thank them for their tireless work in fighting COVID-19 and creating a better tomorrow.

In coordination with hospitals, gift card codes for SkipTheDishes are being offered to frontline healthcare workers at hospitals in communities where Molson Coors brews: Mount Sinai Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospital in Ontario, Montreal General Hospital in Quebec, Chilliwack General Hospital in British Columbia, Health Sciences Centre in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital in New Brunswick.

Molson Coors is now inviting the public to send meals to healthcare heroes too, through a GoFundMe page which will collect funds for meals beyond the initial pledge of 20,000. Already, SkipTheDishes has raised the meal count by 2,800, donating $70,000 to existing efforts. Canadians can share a meal by donating at this link; every $25 raised will provide a meal to a frontline healthcare hero. The GoFundMe page will collect donations from today until May 31, after which meal codes will be distributed proportionally to the hospitals.

“Our founder John Molson built the first public hospital in Montreal out of the desire to help those in need and make his community a better place,” said Fred Landtmeters, President of Molson Coors Canada. “Canadian healthcare workers are selflessly caring for those in need to create a better tomorrow for all of us. While we can’t help these heroes on the frontline, we can certainly thank them with the gesture of a meal.”

Beyond thanking the frontline, these contributions also serve to help the restaurant industry. With establishments closed for dine-in services, home delivery has a heightened role to play for restaurant owners and consumers alike. Having a meal as the value exchanged provides a role for restaurants to play in this gesture of appreciation.

“We’re proud to support Molson Coors on a program that not only thanks healthcare workers who are working tirelessly to fight COVID-19, but also helps our restaurant partners facing unprecedented hardships.” says Rob Payne, Vice President, National Partnerships at SkipTheDishes. The meals for healthcare heroes program is the latest in a series of COVID-19 relief efforts from Molson Coors which has included support to communities of small businesses, freelancers and artists in Canada.

Previous and ongoing initiatives also include offering repurposed trucks and drivers to help transport non-perishable and/or medical supplies, donating 10% of their craft breweries’ curbside pickup and delivery revenue to the Bartender’s Benevolent Fund, and matching a significant donation to the Centraide du Grand Montréal (United Way).

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