That’s the two-fold aim of Tourism Burnaby’s inaugural Bite of Burnaby event from March 8 - 31 which encourages the public to try out a variety of local restaurants, which will be offering set menus as part of the promotion, and then visit the diverse and picturesque regions of the city.
“With the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting businesses hard, especially those in the restaurant sector, we wanted help out by showcasing the diverse dining opportunities we have in Burnaby,” says Ravina Sidhu, Tourism Burnaby’s marketing manager.
This is a different kind of food festival than has been seen in the past. It is designed to encourage Burnaby area locals to sample the multitude of global cuisines available in the city’s restaurants, at home or outside. Restaurants have the option of participating with take-out only, delivery only or dine-in only menus to adapt to the needs of diners during these challenging times.
As for public health considerations, diners can rest assured that all of the restaurants will be adhering to current COVID-19 public health protocols.
“Everyone will be compliant,” Sidhu says.
So far, 30 local restaurants are taking part, with more expected to get on board as the March 8 start date nears.
To help customers navigate their way around the dining options is a convenient, three-level, Bite of Burnaby set menu based on price.
“There are $15, $30 and $60 price points with some restaurants offering all three,” Sidhu says. “So, if you were looking for a more sophisticated dinner for two, Atlas at Delta Hotels Burnaby would be a good choice.
“Or if you are interested in something a little more casual, or a meal on the go with your kids, Mon Paris in Metrotown will be offering Bite of Burnaby packages.
“Judging by the restaurants we have taking part now, there is already so much to choose from—pretty much anything from sushi to Korean barbecue,” Sidhu says.
Plus, diners will be helping many restaurants get through the downturn in dining traffic caused by the pandemic.
“While many of them have been able to pivot their business by emphasizing take-out as opposed to dining in, it has been tough on the local industry,” Sidhu says. “Some of the smaller, mom and pop restaurants needed to close down temporarily to figure out how they were going to handle the situation. Many have re-opened, though sadly some haven’t.”
Changing pandemic guidelines have also been difficult for some to endure, such as the late changes to reduce serving hours last New Year’s Eve and restrictive, in-person dining rules.
“The ones that have been able to succeed have done so because they have been nimble and able to roll with the punches and take advantage of the opportunities,” Sidhu says.
Part of that has included becoming part of Bite of Burnaby that makes the adventurous nature of visiting a new-to-you, near-to-you restaurant easy.
“With the curated menus offered as part of Bite of Burnaby, restaurants have been able to showcase their signature dishes at a great value to welcome new diners and reward their regulars,” Sidhu says.
“There are so many different places to visit in Burnaby since 25 per cent of the area is parkland,” she adds. “And while the emphasis of the Bite of Burnaby is on food, we know that as the weather improves, many locals will want to picnic in a favourite spot or, perhaps, a local destination they haven’t visited before.”
So, plan your day with food and a bit of local exploring.
“Since the Bite of Burnaby event comes into the spring break period and the nicer weather, we encourage people to pick up their food from one of the participating restaurants and explore the area it is in,” Sidhu says.
“So, if you are in the Heights, maybe you are heading up to Capitol Hill (Reservoir Park), or maybe Barnet Marine Park. Or if you are closer to Metrotown, you can visit Deer Lake Park or Burnaby Lake. Then, if you are close to North Road, you can picnic on Burnaby Mountain or maybe at Burnaby Fraser Foreshore Park.”
For more information about how you can enjoy a Bite of Burnaby, visit their website at biteofburnaby.ca.