Temporary River Restaurant Finds Quick Success

A pop-up restaurant on the Red and Assiniboine Rivers has found its calling after a successful opening night on Thursday.

“Raw: Almond” is the contemporary creation of architect and RAW: Gallery director Joe Kalturnyk, along with Mandel Hitzer, chef and owner of the Deer + Almond restaurant. The three-week setting sees seven of Winnipeg’s hottest chefs perfecting their mouth-watering masterpieces for three groups of 20 people nightly.

The idea came about roughly 18 months ago while Kalturnyk and Hitzer were having coffee. The vague plan sat idle for a while before being seriously ignited a few months ago — quickly finding support of the other parties who made “Raw: Almond” turn into a reality.

“There’s obviously a lot of kinks, but everything pulled itself together right when we needed it to,” Hitzer said on Friday. “Like anything, it’s going to evolve and change. So every single day we’re open, it’s going to get better and better. I’m really excited — this is a lot of fun.”

The communal table in the centre of the restaurant seats patrons comfortably, as they dine on a rotating five-course meal from Segovia, Pizzeria Gusto, Elements, Deseo, Diversity, Bistro 7 1/4, and Peasants Cookery. Each restaurant will serve its dishes for three nights in a row.

If fine dining on the river happens to be on your bucket list, bundle up. Even though the structure is heated (including the on-site washrooms), it can still get a bit chilly at times.

“Some people took their jackets off,” Kalturnyk said. “But bring good socks.”

Tickets are $85 per person and are nearly sold out. Three nightly sittings can be booked for 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. until February 13.

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