Edmonton

Miss dining out? Virtual lunch series aims to connect Edmonton diners online

An Australian campaign to support businesses affected by COVID-19-related racism inspired Keren Tang to launch a similar initiative in Edmonton.

Keren Tang’s 'Eat With Me YEG' series promotes 124th Street businesses this week

Edmonton residents taking part in the Eat With Me YEG event on April 22 to support businesses just north of downtown. (Keren Tang)

An Australian campaign to support businesses affected by COVID-19-related racism inspired Keren Tang to launch a similar initiative in Edmonton.

Six weeks after encouraging fellow residents to order takeout from Chinatown and eat together via video conference, her "Eat With Me YEG" event has grown into a city-wide series.

This week's instalment, which runs 12–1 p.m. on Wednesday, encourages diners to order from 124th Street businesses that are still open for either delivery or pickup, including Prairie Noodle Shop, Remedy Cafe, Three Vikings, Woodshed Burgers, Duchess Bake Shop, El Mariachi Restaurant, Farrow, Koutouki Taverna, Northern Chicken, Nosh Cafe, Numchok Wilai Restaurant and Meuwly's.

Participants can register for the event for free on Eventbrite.

The virtual discussion takes place on the video conferencing app Zoom.

Terry Synyshyn, a board member of the 124 Street Business Association, Kim Synyshyn, owner of Mudhoney Salon, and Krista Franke, who runs the 124 Street Grand Market, all plan to be on Wednesday's call.

Tang, who has a background in health promotion and public health, said she suspects many people, herself included, are struggling to balance childcare with working from home.

"What this lunch has really provided is some semblance of normalcy," she said Tuesday in an interview with CBC's Radio Active.

Hey, what are you doing for lunch tomorrow? It's a question a local group is asking Edmontonians. We're taking you behind the Eat With Me Edmonton movement. 7:37

"It makes me feel like there's still community out there and I hope others feel the same way."

Previous events have supported businesses in Chinatown, Old Strathcona, downtown and the North Edge district, just north of downtown.

Tang said the intention behind the series is supporting local businesses but she recognizes that can be difficult for people who have lost income due to the pandemic.

People are welcome to donate meals instead of buying for themselves or participate without buying anything at all.

"If it's about eating leftovers, that's OK too," she said.

now