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gravitypope Community Series: Darling

gravitypope Community Series: Darling

Following a successful pop-up, partners Derrick & Justin Jones, along with Head Chef Lindsay James and Sous Chef Josiane Cossette, proudly introduce Darling. This approachable wine bar is rooted in local culinary delights, aiming to break away from wine's pretentious reputation. Tucked between two bustling Edmonton neighborhoods, Darling invites everyone to share in its impressive menu and exciting wine selections.

Join us as we step into their space, indulge in their appetizing creations, and have a conversation about their journey in Edmonton's business scene. Dive into the full interview below to get to know more about Darling.

Photography by: Vivian Han-Tat @thrvht

Congrats on the opening! You used to have a natural wine pop up almost directly across the street, what inspired the new location? 

During our pop-up, we had a great time serving glass pours of natural wine. We had such a warm welcome from the community that we decided to move forward with a permanent location allowing us to open a full restaurant with plenty of offerings. We’re passionate about great food and great wine and we wanted to share that with Edmonton.

What influences did you look at for the beautiful interior design in your space? 

Our inspiration was mid-century modern meets Scandinavian. We wanted the space to feel warm and inviting yet minimalistic. NAKO Design is very talented and did a fantastic job at executing our vision.

What is the importance of drinking a low-interference, natural wine, and why create a restaurant dedicated to such? 

We care about the food we eat, we’ve been enjoying craft beer because we care about where it comes from and how it’s made, but what about our wine? In conventional wines, you would typically find additives such as flavouring, colouring and sulphites. A low-intervention or natural wine is a wine where nothing is taken away and nothing is removed. It’s wine in its traditional and simplest form. Also, when purchasing Natural wines, you’re typically supporting a small production, family-owned and operated wineries. Due to their low production, we’re always switching up our wines on a weekly basis, offering our guests new and exciting wines to enjoy! 

Wine doesn't often lead to a "casual" place, why was it important for Darling to be a "casual neighbourhood hang out?” 

Because we’re on the east side of Whyte Avenue, nestled between two great neighbourhoods, it was crucial for us to create an inviting and casual atmosphere. We want guests to come by to celebrate a special occasion or simply ride their bike over to enjoy a great meal and glass of wine at the bar. Natural wine is fun and can definitely be casual. 

What's one thing on the menu you could eat every day? 

Our Head Chef Lindsay James and Sous Chef Josiane Cossette are so talented with their seasonally inspired menus. We love our beef carpaccio from the dinner menu and we’re also obsessed with our Spanish omelette at brunch! 

It seems as though there's a tight-knit community in the Edmonton restaurant scene, how important is community in the hospitality industry? 

Edmonton has such a vibrant and unique restaurant scene and by collaborating and supporting each other, we all benefit. We are grateful to also work with some really great industry partners and vendors.

What are the best parts of starting a restaurant with friends and family?  

We’ve always dreamt of opening a restaurant of our own. It’s been quite the adventure but it wouldn’t be what it is now without the great team, family & friends surrounding us. Having a great team that stands behind the concept, makes the business the best it can be. We’re so grateful! 

What is your favourite thing to do in a hot Edmonton summer? 

Our son Silas loves the outdoors so we’re constantly on family bike rides or at the nearest splash park. Park picnics and local ice cream shop visits are also up there on our list!

What has been the most unexpected aspect of opening up your own restaurant? 

We’re surprised to already have a handful of amazing regulars. It’s so great to connect with fine folks in our community and really appreciate their support.  

Other than Darling, where are some of your favourite places to eat in Edmonton? 

There are so many gems but here are a few of our favourites: 

-We love our local coffee shops - Take Care Cafe, Sorrelina Coffee, and Candid Coffee Roasters!

- Fav treat - Kind Ice Cream! 

- Uccellino is always our fav date spot!

-A few top other top picks - Smokey Bear Wine Bar, Damso Izakaya, Leopard Pizza, and Marlo Tacos!

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