The Local Omnivore

10933 120 St.

780-660-1051

www.thelocalomnivore.com

Tues. to Thurs. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sat. and Sun. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Closed Mondays

Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns

Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns

Service: 4 of 5 Suns

Lunch for two: Excluding drinks and tip, loaded, $35, basic, $20

Doing it right has never been more pronounced.

Mark Bellows and Ryan Brodziak started The Local Omnivore as a relatively low-cost food truck specializing in meat sandwiches and hamburgers. Having built an excellent reputation as a mobile operation, they moved that reputation into one of the city’s best sandwich shops, custom-built to their specifications. The Local Omnivore restaurant opened before Christmas and hasn’t looked back.

What do they do right? Mostly, they do it all themselves. They source their meat from a network of organic farms around Edmonton that specialize in range-free, hormone-free, grass-fed etc. etc. One of the Omnivore staffers actually butchers much of their meat at small, regional abattoirs. The animals the Local Omnivore uses are fed as to have plenty of old-fashioned taste. They can also be slaughtered at an older age than is the norm, again resulting in superior taste.

Doing it themselves includes making their own corned beef (super-salty but delicious), curing and smoking their own pork belly for Omnivore’s famous bacon, brining their own turkeys, using home recipes to make their own sausages and so on.

My “Mr. Pink Sandwich” ($10) was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. From the first bite, the thought and research was obvious. The ingredients – thin, layered, tender pork slices, semi-melted and still warm Swiss cheese, a beautiful malted honey mustard mixed with malted honey, arugula greens with a touch of citrus in the dressing – were all best-of-class.

The sweet of the honey came first, followed by the soft pork (not ham, not bacon, real pink pork) then the savoury malt and mustard. When ingredients blend so smoothly and flavours emerge in a certain order, you know much research and experimentation has gone into the creation of each Local Omnivore sandwich.

The Local Omnivore sticks to a toasted brown “Russian rye” which runs contrary to expectation. It’s a soft, brown bread closer to French or Italian breads than the rough dark ryes of Eastern Europe. The only surprise is the predominant use of just one style of bread. Perhaps it’s for simplicity’s sake, but a little more variety in the bread offerings would be a plus.

Don’t fret, vegetarians. Besides the bacon, corned beef, turkey and pork sandwiches, non-meat Omnivore sandwiches can be had, featuring steamed kale and leek with non-animal protein. Root vegetable sides and arugula salad are on offer as roughage, along with sinfully good “pirate” poutine and home-made (of course) “pirate” spiced fries.

The look of the 40-seat restaurant ranges from rough, white-washed barnyard planking to humourous wall hangings, to large abstract art paintings marching along an interior wall. In the modern, open kitchen, the ball-capped and bearded cooks happily work away. The Local Omnivore is comfortable and, on its own terms, contemporary.

The shop takes a little while to find. It’s a destination location, two blocks north of 107 Avenue on 120 Street in a semi-industrial area. With the Duchess bakery expanding next door in the same building, it’ll soon be familiar territory to Edmontonians willing to search out good food.

* * *

The Stuffed Gourmet Sausage Company is an extension of the Smokehouse BBQ House at 10810 124 Street. The concept is clever, the execution abysmal.

The extra-long buns are skewered and heated on specially made hot metal cylinders. The resulting hole is then injected with whatever sauce has been ordered, then down the hole goes a pre-cooked and heated sausage. It’s the old piggy-in-a-blanket, with the twist of using a pre-made hot dog bun.

Too bad the ingredients – which looked appetizing as described on the menu blackboard – were mediocre. The buns are generic white bread, the sausage dry and crumbly, the sauce nondescript and skimpy. As for service, the lady at the counter hadn’t a clue about what she was selling.

Graham Hicks

graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com

www.hicksbiz.com

@hicksonsix