Alberta restaurants innovate to cater to at-home New Year’s celebrations

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WATCH ABOVE: With Alberta bars and restaurants closed to in-person dining, the New Year's Eve experience is going to look a lot different. As Jill Croteau reports, businesses have had to shift their menus to cater to the at-home celebration – Dec 30, 2020

This won’t be a traditional New Year’s, as a lot of celebratory plans have been altered. Restaurants and catering businesses are hoping to capitalize by offering unique menus that allow customers to cook the dishes at home.

Others have designed special meal packages delivered to your door.

Chef Judy Wood owns Meez Cuisine and Catering and also runs a restaurant at Lougheed House.

“This year is so different, everyone is wondering what to do so we wanted to give people an opportunity to have high end food that’s local,” Wood said.

She is used to cooking for a dining room full of people and hopes the at-home options give customers a similar experience.

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“We had an incredible December. The support was incredible and I was overwhelmed. But, still, when you compare numbers to last year, we are still down substantially, 50 per cent.”

Loyal customer Bruce Maclennan said he’s been making a conscious effort to buy local and will be indulging in an at-home meal.

“We have very modest New Year’s plans. I think we will be hunkered down in our house enjoying Judy’s food,” Maclellan said.

Some bars have offered at-home cocktail boxes to help toast 2021: drinks you can mix on your own. Proof cocktail bar co-owner Jeff Jamieson said they needed to get creative.

“We invested a lot of money in stickers and bottles and launched after the first shutdown,” Jamieson said.

Building Proof yyc cocktail boxes. Jill Croteau/Global News

It’s unique, but without customers sipping on spirits in their establishment, it’s not sustainable, Jamieson said.

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At-home cocktail box. Jill Croteau/Global News

“It’s not profitable, our sales are down even with boxes we are still down 60 to 70 per cent. It’s getting us by which we are very thankful for,” he said.

“We would have to do three times in the sale of boxes to see it on the bottom line.”

With dinner and drinks at home, many Calgary organizations are hoping people will support them in signing up for virtual celebrations.

Luminous Voices, Calgary’s professional chamber choir, is putting on a New Year’s Eve show. The singers will be featured in live, heartfelt solo performances from their own homes. The $10 event will be livestreamed.

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