Winnipeggers embraced the river pop-up restaurant RAW: almond and its $85 per person ticket price. (Robin Summerfield)
I think the whole cheap Winnipeg thing is a myth.
—Ben Kramer, chef
Need proof Winnipeggers are bargain hunters? Look no further than IKEA where customers line up before doors open for the express purpose of wielding a fork not an Allen key and dining on $1 breakfasts.
Yet, in a town where finding deals is sport, many Winnipeggers' also have a big appetite for paying a heftier price on memorable meals.
"There is no shortage of people willing to spend money in Winnipeg. I think the whole cheap Winnipeg thing is a myth," says Ben Kramer, executive chef at University of Winnipeg's Diversity Foods.
There is a thriving local culture of informed and enthusiastic eaters who want fresh, organic, locally raised or grown ingredients and are willing to pay more for better tasting food, says Kramer, who runs Elements and was one of the river pop-up chefs.
They're also willing to pay premium prices for a unique dining experience. Case in point: RAW: almond, the gourmet pop-up restaurant on the ice at the Forks, sold out of its $85 tickets not long after they went on sale in late January. Organizers plan to reopen the pop-up next winter too.
From the outside looking in--having dinner in a tent on a frozen river in the heart of a frosty Winnipeg winter--sounds insane. But locals happily snatched up the prized tickets as much for the food as for the one-of-a-kind adventure, which included cold toes and a bracingly chilly walk to the temporary restaurant.