It’s a busy time at North & Navy! The popular locally-owned Italian restaurant is among many who have adapted to the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve switched up their menu of classic offerings inspired by Northern Italy into a popular take-home menu featuring spaghetti bolognese, beef cavatelli, minestrone, and more.
What’s more, they are now giving back to the community by sending a weekly lunch to frontline workers at the Ottawa Hospital and the Brewer Park assessment facility.
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We’re feeling thankful for all the support our community has shown us and truly impressed how many have come together to support each other here in Ottawa over the last weeks. Starting today once a week North & Navy family is sending lunch to the front line workers @ottawahospital @cheohospital Brewer Park Assessment location thank you for your hard work
But wait, there’s more: head chef Adam Vettorel has launched a podcast — At the Pass with Adam Vettorel — all about the Ottawa restaurant scene! Chef Vettorel has always been an eloquent interview subject and an enthusiastic collaborator, and we’repumped to hear how he hosts engaging conversations with local foodies.
We asked Chef Vettorel about the new menu, adapting amidst COVID-19, and the future of the local restaurant scene.
What inspired the menu options?
First, we wanted to deliver delicious food to our customers, so we needed to think of classic NoNa dishes that travel well. We also wanted to support some small scale suppliers to help them get through this difficult time, so we built dishes around Le Coprin Mushrooms, Against the Grain flour and pulses, and recently Juniper Farms heirloom carrots. Finally, we wanted to create a safe place for our cooks so we made sure the menu never got so big that two people could not execute it. This was the safest kitchen set up we could think of.
What challenges did you face in transitioning into takeout?
Transitioning from a fine dining restaurant to a takeout joint had so many challenges! Sourcing takeout containers, ramping up production to keep up with demand, figuring out how to get people food while respecting social distancing, and doing all of this while trying to decode the constant flow of new information from the government about how our employees are going to get paid, and how our industry is going to be helped.
How do you think this period will effect the future of the local restaurant industry?
It is hard to predict exactly how this will change our industry because there is still so much that remains to be seen. How much longer this lasts and how much financial help restaurants will receive are still massive questions. This business has notoriously slim margins and therefore almost no room to absorb this kind of disruption. Many places watched the last of their cash flow leave the bank after the government failed to force a break on rent.
It’s hard to imagine what they are going to do going forward. If the only thing the government can come up with is offering a loan most restaurants will not be able to afford that new bill every month.