3803 Calgary Trail NW
Thought it was open now didn’t you?
Well, as of 10pm MST last evening, this is what the front door looked like.
Still covered up with ‘opening soon’ paper noting just the information of a local contractor doing the work inside apparently, I’m not exactly sure when the doors will open to customers as it was difficult to see through the small bit of uncovered space at the entrance in the freezing Edmonton night I might add. With some flurries coming down, this was a quick drive by and shoot, as the trigger finger on the shutter felt like it might just fall off from the cold.
I’m a little worried here though folks. And I’m going to blame it on the still very early days of the expansion into Alberta of a stand alone, ramen-ya with background support from an actual operation in Japan and the general low awareness level of just what ramen is with the local populace. Sure, a place like Calgary has a few places that serve this traditional fast food on their menu, and even one place that offers just that (though I haven’t been there in a long time since the original post you find here), so it might be a bit more developed in terms of mind share in that southern city. But in Edmonton, aside from the only one I can recall that notes it in their business name (Tokyo Noodle Shop) and seemingly their menu (again, its probably been a good decade since I last ate there and got what amounted to spaghetti noodles in my bowl), I don’t know of any place that offers ramen to customers.
And thus, its perhaps why I see the sushi on the logo mark you see in the photo. As maybe if they just listed ramen on its own, many people might not have a clue what Sanpachi is – a restaurant serving Japanese food. Knowledge (or what passes for it) about sushi is clearly out there in landlocked Alberta, but ramen I think is a completely different story. Now that I think about it, given its roots as serving mainly just ramen when it began in Banff, Calgary’s Shikiji also lists these two things in their business name (now that they’ve expanded their menu). Just thinking out loud here, but maybe the plan of attack in underdeveloped ramen markets is to hit them hard and fast with what they know and love (no doubt bastardly large maki sushi, made up of foreign ingredients like mango and cream cheese and drowned in mayonnaise) and THEN show then this mysterious bowl of soup noodles, and SLOWLY get them to learn and appreciate what its all about.
Anyhoo, I look forward to returning to The City of Champions in 2011 and giving this second Canadian outlet a try, and compare it to what I’ve had in Vancouver during their soft opening. If anyone in E-town beats me to the punch, please drop us a note in the comment box and share your experiences with us and our readers!