Leanne Moussa, leader of the allsaints event space project, saw the writing on the wall before the City of Ottawa asked all restaurants and event spaces to close their doors in response to the spread of COVID-19; she had already begun developing a take-out and delivery service for Working Title restaurant, with hers truly as delivery driver. This was the only way that she could hope to cover the salaries of her chefs and two staff. The rest of her employees, unfortunately, had to be laid off (though she hopes of course that as soon as business is back to normal she can hire them back).
In just three days, Leanne had a whole new business model for the restaurant. But 90% of the revenue generated by allsaints is from events. Within three hours on March 12, all upcoming events had been postponed until further notice—these include meetings, conferences, weddings and celebrations of life. An inconvenience for some, a devastation for others.
Leanne says her only consolation, of sorts, is that she is not alone. And her spirits have been bolstered by the tremendous amount of community support. Not only are neighbours supporting the business, but there is a palpable sense of connection. As a reflection of this sentiment of solidarity, allsaints is ringing the church bells daily at 4 p.m. just as staff begin their work for the evening. So open your windows, or better yet, go on your front porch and wave to your neighbours as you all enjoy the chiming.
The take-out model coincided with the launch of Working Title’s new spring menu. The creations of the talented culinary team include classics such as spaghetti and meatballs and a hamburger (made with grass-fed beef provided by Blackburn Avenue resident Craig Anderson) as well as more eclectic fare; from Harissa Grilled Eggplant to Soba Noodles with Kimchi and Pork Belly, there truly is something for everyone. And in these stressful times, there is nothing like a nutritious home-made meal to nourish the soul and lift our spirits. You can even complete your order with local craft beer and a bottle of VQA wine, now that restaurants have been allowed to deliver alcohol.
You can also spread the love by ordering gift boxes, whether to someone in isolation or simply to tell a friend you are thinking of them.
Hopefully this will all be short-lived and soon we will be able to go out and enjoy Working Title’s delicious food in the company of friends and neighbours. Until then, stay healthy, and order online at workingtitleottawa.com/order-online/ (or call 613-230-3336).