In which I talk about soup for 700 words
Another restaurant closes its doors. Read to the end for a classic Tweet
Radio personality Vilma Portillo wanted soup yesterday which led to the discovery that local soup franchise Salted Cracker has closed its doors — or, rather, had their doors locked on them, assets seized, etc:
Meanwhile on Reddit an email alleged to be from the owner to staff was also posted and is it points out, this has been following a series of other emails posted to social media in which the owner has asked employees to defer getting paid so they can make ends meet, so I guess there are signs this has been coming.
Salted Cracker was an odd duck for the local food scene in that it opened not just one but four different locations which, tbh, made me wonder how solid their financial situation was versus simply going for rapid growth based on loans (I have no info either way). I can’t personally think of all that many local restaurants that have managed to operate multiple locations sustainably — Ric’s Grill was a franchise that started here and collapsed, Amigo’s briefly ran a second location in Spruceland before retreating back to its single downtown location and Spciy Greens… well, that’s a whole thing. There are some restauranteurs who manage to run two different restaurants: Cimo and North 54 for years, though Cimo is gone now leaving, I believe, Nancy O’s/Betulla Burning as the only established spaces to do this (the verdict is still out on how successful Crossroads’ College Heights location will be long-term). This also marks what I think is the third restaurant to shut down this year for apparently financial reasons? Cimo did so on their own terms as business declined but Salted Cracker is going down somewhat ignomiously, following in the footsteps of the Firm though I honestly don’t know how much to read into any of this as a trend versus businesses that just didn’t have a sustainable model in place.
One thing I do remember from when Salted Cracker opened was going there with a co-worker and us seeing soups and sandwiches on the menu and asking about a combo and the person seeming to be utterly confused by the concept which, fair enough, set the prices for your items, but the idea of a soup and sandwich place that didn’t have a soup and sandwich combo still strikes me as an interesting move, as well. It also brings to mind what was hands-down the greatest soup-and-sandwich place this city has ever seen, which at least one person was trying to remember yesterday and which I can say with certainty was Ladles because I was both a regular and did a story about them closing and was gifted this as a result, which I took out of storage for the purposes of today’s newsletter:
Ladles was in a restaurant that stood where what is now the new pool is, I think, or maybe it was where the new hotel beside the pool is, but either way it was also in a hotel and shared a food court with Karahi King which is low-key the best restaurant in town still and made for a great place to meet people for lunch, very cafeteria style. In this case the closure was bittersweet — it was partially because the hotel it was in was shutting down and partially because the chef was getting married and moving to PEI. I have no idea what happened after that but if he opened a soup spot, those are some lucky islanders.
Anyways, I don’t know what the best soup is now but Ramen Ya Sendo in College Heights gave me a very good lunch this weekend and I took a picture of their art, too:
And since this newsletter is now just me talking about memories of soup I should also share that when I worked in an office with a fax machine Ladles would send out their daily specials list every weekday. I have no idea if there was a mailing list our office had signed up for or if they just somehow were able to email everyone within walking distance but it was pretty great. I feel very much like an old timer telling stories of the golden days right now. But trust me, their soup was amazing.
Lindsay Van der Meer sent in this montage of lilacs at UNBC taken while at the plant sale this weekend:
And Sabrina Dosanjh shares a great tip:
I want to point out that the cafe at Exploration Place has made a lilac lemonade with a syrup they made from the local lilacs. It is delicious and it inspired us to try making our own syrup this weekend, which has turned out divine. It’s a good use of the flowers before they turn.
I will print tips about lilacs for as long as you send them.
Some major firsts for UNBC’s convocation this week including the first cohort of students to complete all four years of their education in UNBC’s School of Engineering. It’s also the second largest graduating class ever. Here’s an interview with one of the folks getting an honourary degree.
Miracle Theatre has raised $190,000 to establish a permanent fund to help refugees coming to the city.
The College of New Caledonia is celebrating a new art installation.
The Little Prince is back on the rails for an abbreviated season.
A numbered company is hoping to rezone part of Queensway in order to build an apartment building which I will honestly be surprised about anyone opposing.
Canada North Resources Expo coming back to PG after four-year hiatus.
Prince George men handily win gold at Canadian National Handball Championships.
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Local establishments are so important to city cultures/ identity and I fear that all these places closing will turn PG into the grey boring pixie inc from fairly odd parents but it’s just McDonald’s everywhere. Where’s the flavour (literally)
Amigos tried a second location in pine center for a little bit too, in the late 90s early 00s? The frozen yogurts were a fancy alternative to malts for a hot minute.