Taiko Canteen temporarily closes due to COVID-19 restrictions

Jan 12 2022, 8:56 pm

Taiko Canteen has closed its doors for the foreseeable future in Calgary.

In a recent Instagram post, the much-loved business announced they would be putting things on hold until they can fully re-open due to ever-changing pandemic restrictions.

“We appreciate all the support and look forward to the day this is all behind us,” read the post.

Alberta health officials recently announced updated COVID-19 restrictions for bars, pubs, and restaurants in the province that went into effect on December 24, 2021. These measures included restricted restaurant seating and liquor service in restaurants and bars.

Many businesses, like Taiko Canteen, were left to make difficult decisions on how to move forward.

Located at 3851 Manchester Road in southeast Calgary, Taiko Canteen is a fixture in the neighbourhood.

After starting as a humble food truck, the concept found its home in a sprawling 3,000 sq ft food market and music hall.

Taiko Canteen owner, Aaron Bruce, spoke to Dished Calgary about the difficulties of operating under the pandemic restrictions and making the decision to close.

“At the end of the day, it has been very challenging because we don’t get to operate our business as it was intended to be,” Bruce said.

“And to be clear, none of us ever wanted the government to give us money to survive; we just wanted to do what we love to do before the pandemic.”

Bruce went on to explain the mandates and pivots in the province have become “exhausting, to say the least.”

Despite government support, Bruce says it simply doesn’t match what the business needs to stay open.

“The economics don’t work out. Our revenues now versus prior to the pandemic are less than 30%.”

Even in the face of these overwhelming challenges, the Taiko Canteen team knew that they had no other option but to close their doors in order to survive.

“It feels like we have had to make this decision dozens of times over the past two years, like every other venue, restaurant, and service-based business,” said Bruce.

“You never want to see your dream be put on hold. And as difficult as it was, this is the right call so we can ensure we are here in the future. Tough times don’t last; tough people do.”

Always priding themselves on being a welcoming space, Taiko Canteen offers employment opportunities to those who may not have it easy. They always wanted to make a difference and were vocal advocates for social change.

“Food is a right, not a privilege, and we use our business to help our community as much as possible,” said Bruce.

“This might look like feeding folks at The Mustard Seed or our Mealshare partnership, as well as employing those that might not have any experience in the industry but have the right attitude. We also pay a living wage and offer staff meals, and continue to do our best to champion a great place to work.”

The eclectic lunch and dinner menu offered a wide variety of fantastic pub-style food, with a great selection of rotating beer taps. It was also the can’t-miss nine-hole mini-golf course in the centre of the space that made it one of the most fun bars to grab a bite in Calgary.

Thankfully, there is still a possibility that the Taiko Taco food truck will be getting back on the road soon.

“Our origin story is two of the most sought out food trucks and is the core of our company, and we will return with both Taiko Taco and Zilford’s Fried Chicken as soon as the weather permits with our friends over at YYC Food Trucks.

Even though the Taiko Canteen recently had to cancel all 24 of their holiday parties due to COVID-19 restrictions, stop their mini-golf due to government mandates, and face an extreme cold warning stretch where people did not want to leave their homes, they are still looking forward.

“We 100% plan on re-opening as soon as the restrictions are consistently removed, the weather is on our side, and we can host events and gatherings in our space – because that’s what we built it for, and that’s when people come to support us,” said Bruce.

This will not be the last we see from the Taiko Canteen team; we’ll keep you posted on updates.

Taiko Canteen (temporarily closed)

Address: 3851 Manchester Road SE, Calgary


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