Jul. 27, 2011 - Issue #823: The Naked Truth
Absolutely Edibles offers real food in a renewed place
"We were young and naive," Cochran laughs. "We started on a shoestring—we didn't have any money, just an idea. If you want a nine-to-five job, you'll want to stay out of the restaurant industry."
With the original location temporarily closed for renovations and more than a decade of hard work behind them, the pair recently opened a restaurant at a second location just down the street, under the name Absolutely Edibles Real Food Fusion & Wine Bar. With only a 40-seat capacity on this bustling street corner, the warm, modern decor lets you forget you're in the heart of one of the city's most dynamic neighbourhoods.
"When we came here six years ago, there were hookers out front everyday and needles on our back doorstep," Dutton explains. "Guys would walk up to cars selling drugs right [in front of the restaurant].
"Now, that's all gone. It shows people have taken control and do things like Arts on The Avenue and the Winter Festival, and the avenue's become busy."
Dutton and Cochran have been overwhelmed by the support of the tight-knit neighbourhood. When the pair was originally denied a restaurant permit due to lack of parking, Cochran went door-to-door with a petition.
"I thought I'd be able to bang this out in a couple of nights, but I ended up meeting so many people and standing in their doorway, talking for half an hour," he marvels. "The art you see [in the restaurant] is from a guy who lives four blocks away. And that's one of the things we wanted, to help each other. It's amazing to see, it's been good for us and we know that the avenue is coming around. This place is so vibrant and we want to be a part of that."
"We learned what a stronger community there is here," adds Dutton. "We knew they were there, but we had no idea how much people want to enjoy the avenue."
The menu reflects their versatility as caterers, which works well in a part of town that offers such diverse dining experiences within a five-block radius. With an emphasis on fresh, local and non-processed ingredients, as well as a strong vegetarian- and vegan-friendly background, they've organized their menu into small plates, ideal for sharing and sampling.
"We're definitely known for our vegetarian and vegan food, but we're where a vegan and carnivore can eat together," Dutton points out. "So much of what we do is about fresh food and buying organic when we can, and having different foods for people to try, like kangaroo and elk. We have every fresh herb, and all our sauces are made from scratch—that's why we call it 'real food fusion'—because it's about being comfortable eating real food and enjoying the experience of going out again."
Brenda Dutton and Bjorn Cochran
Absolutely Edibles Real Food Fusion & Wine Bar
9567A - 118 Ave, 780.477.2408 vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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