Savour the Southeast helping small diners reach a larger crowd

By Scott Roblin
November 4, 2018 - 7:19pm Updated: November 5, 2018 - 7:18pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB – For every big-sized chain restaurant in Medicine Hat, there’s often a small, independently owned business that has survived for decades.

Now, as part of the ‘Savour the Southeast’ tour by Tourism Medicine Hat, some of those hole-in-the-wall diners are being showcased to a wider audience.

The 2018 edition of the tour kicked off on Sunday the same way it did last year, with a poutine crawl stretching across four restaurants throughout the city.

One of those diners was Lela’s Place the Chocolate Shop, which is one of the oldest operating restaurants in Medicine Hat.

Lela’s manager Tracy Carvery said they’ve never taken part in an initiative such as Savour the Southeast, but added it’s a good way to attract a younger crowd to their diner.

“We’ve been doing generations and generations of families,” said Carvery. “Grandpas, great-grandpas, moms and dads, and now we’re finding the younger generation is starting to come. They didn’t even know we existed.”

Following the stop at Lela’s Place, the poutine tour also visited local establishments such as Heartwood Cafe, Skinny’s Smokehouse, and Industry Pub.

A total of 11 independent restaurants will be featured throughout the week, with Tourism Medicine Hat’s Abby Czibere saying the city’s culinary industry has taken off over the last few years.

“One of our brand pillars is the emerging culture and [creativity],” said Czibere. “So, that kind of goes along with it, with our culinary culture here in Medicine Hat.”

Sunday’s poutine crawl saw 14 people sign up, which Carvery said is good for creating more awareness of her business through word of mouth and personal recommendations.

“It does wonders, it’s awesome,” she said. “It’s probably our biggest thing that brings people in here, is word of mouth.”

This is the sixth year for Savour the Southeast in Medicine Hat, which will run until Saturday across the city.

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