Despite being launched into a fourth iteration of ‘lockdown’ until Jan. 27, local restaurants remain resilient and adaptable in the face of COVID adversity. As the city with the most restaurants per capita in the country, Kingston’s restaurant scene isn’t one without competition or creativity!
Over the past two years, small businesses have taken whatever measures necessary in order to keep those businesses afloat, safe for their patrons, and fun, too. From contactless curbside pickup to at-home how-tos, the lengths that these businesses have gone to are certainly commendable.
One week into the 21 day lockdown and the creative gumption and local support can already be seen. The Ontario Public Health Guidelines still permit outdoor gathering and dining for groups of no more than 10 people. As such, some restaurants have chosen to open their patios, a few adding extra heat to keep customers cozy and warm on even the coldest days.
We spoke to a few of those that chose to open their patios, or who have imagined up some unique and original dining options, and have created a small guide to innovative dining options in Kingston during ‘Lockdown 4.0′
Outdoor winter dining
Starting in the east end
The Duchess Pub
“During these difficult times,” says owner Troy Gadbois, “The Duchess is still trying to be there for our community as a home away from home.” Despite the cold weather last weekend, Gadbois and the team at The Duchess Pub opened their patio for those that were willing to brave the cold. “The idea was extremely well received by our extended family and community,” said Gadbois, who expressed gratitude to all those that came out last weekend.
Located in the Riverview Shopping Centre, just off of Highway 15, The Duchess Pub is the perfect spot to grab a bite after running weekend errands.
Their patio will be open again on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 from 12 to 4 p.m.
Stop in and grab something warm and delicious from their takeout menu, a bowl of hot chili perhaps? Paired with an icy-cold beer from one of their many taps.
In the coming weeks, Gadbois says to keep an eye out for COVID safe and fun activities. Find out more about The Duchess Pub here.
Making our way downtown
After some unfortunate events left Amadeus Restaurant and Biergarten having to close their beloved back patio early in the fall season, some determination and help from the community, combined with some exciting new offerings, have brought Kingston’s downtown German eatery back on the scene.
Tucked away in a limestone alcoveare two seating areas warmed by table-top fireplaces. Here, bundled up in blankets, and warmed by a fire, patrons can enjoy European draught beers or warm glüwhein in Amadeus’ “secret” biergarten, located to the rear of the restaurant. Offerings of specialty appetizers, as well as the regular take out menu, make the perfect pairing to the outdoor experience.
The patio is seated on a first come, first served basis. Be sure to check them out this Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 from 3 to 7 p.m.
If you’re not up for staying outside, Amadeus offers takeout Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m., including their specialty imported beers and wines, as well as half litre jars of their homemade glüwein.
Amadeus would also like to say “danke shoen” to the community for a tremendously successful first run of their German Christmas Market featuring local artisans. Owner Brian Breitwieser says that he anticipates running another market this year.
Tango is also offering their cozy, streetside patio from Wednesday to Saturday. To give everyone a fair chance at their limited space, 90 minute seating is available by reservation only between 3 to 9 p.m. Enjoy a bite to eat from their modified tapas menu, paired with a wine or specially crafted cocktail.
Diners can also check out Tango To-Go, the restaurant’s made-to-take-away menu perfect for dining in without the work. Visit there website here.
A west side story of dining glory
Red House West
Red House West has kept the party going (responsibly, of course) all week long on their heated patio. Operating on a “BYOB: Bring your own blanket” basis, Red House is making the best of “lockdown 4.0.” If in the west end of Kingston and in search of a twist on classic pub fare and a cold local brew on draught, then this is the place to be!
Stop by Sunday to Thursday 12 to 4 p.m. with extended hours Friday and Saturday, 12 to 8 p.m.
Flavours of the world from the comfort of your own couch
If braving the cold isn’t on the agenda, there are still some great creative options to tickle those taste buds at home! Consider the following:
Days on Front
Since the lockdowns began two years ago, Days on Front, located in the West End, has been offering virtual wine tastings. Partnering with wineries from around the world, Chefs Jason Legere and Matt Day create food pairings for each of the three 750 mL wines included with the take-home tasting packages, which serve two.
Last week, they hosted a “very successful” wine tasting in partnership with Maynard’s Vineyard in Portugal. This week’s sold-out event will feature Luiano of the Chianti Region.
There is still space, however, to book a spot for the Jan. 21 virtual tasting featuring Zinio Bodegas from the Rioja Alta region of Spain. Reservations can be made at the Days on Front website.
Takeout is also available by way of a specialized menu and can be ordered after 3 p.m. Wed-Sat with a pick up time between 5-8 pm.
The team at Days on Front would like to thank all those who have continued to support them during these past few years by either joining one of their events or by ordering takeout.
The Everly Wine & Provisions Shop
In a new location, just to the side of The Everly restaurant on the corner of Wellington and Brock Streets and online, The Everly Wine & Provisions offers a finely curated selection of goodies. This treasure trove of a shop features both local and international, natural, low intervention wines, spirits, craft beers, ciders, and batched classic cocktails that won’t be found at the LCBO.
Perfect beverage pairings can also be found here, including fine cheeses, olives or patés, terrines, and mustards made in house. Everything available in the physical store is also available online, offering free delivery on orders over $100. Food purchase is required with alcohol in accordance with the new AGCO guidelines.
The physical shop is open from Wednesday to Saturday, 12 to 6 p.m. The online shop remains open throughout the week.
Aqua To Go virtual cooking lessons
A favourite for many local foodies, Aqua Terra just upped their game this week for those with a flair for fine foods. On Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, the eatery announced their new virtual cooking classes through its take-out entity, Aqua To Go.
“We believe the more you know, the more you enjoy. We want you to discover our favourite dishes, our chefs, and the producers who inspire us through our virtual cooking lessons,” Aqua Terra posted on Facebook, detailing this week’s feature, Steak Diane with a brandy, cream & demi-glace, duck fat fingerling potato and roasted Brussels sprouts.
“Each of our featured dishes start with high-quality ingredients! We’ll safely pack your virtual cooking lesson kit with all the ingredients you need for your experience and include a link to our virtual demo that you can follow along with in the kitchen,” the restaurant continued. “Our team is so excited to share some tips and tricks with you to elevate your cooking skills. These kits are a perfect for a fun, date night in.” The meals are $30 each and make one plate, and adding on a featured wine pairing is available. The Steak Diane feature will be available to cook at home – with the guidance of the Aqua Terra pros – until Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, and new meal options are expected to follow. Find out all of the details on the Aqua Terra website (where you can also order take-out options).
These are just a few of the hard working folks out there keeping food on tables not only for Kingstonians but their families, too.
Know of any other outdoor heated patios in Kingston and the area? Or some of the latest interesting offers ready to tempt in the town? Let us know in the comments, or give us a mention on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram @Kingstonist.