Over the next two weeks, we’ll be featuring each of the 8 restaurants who are participating in Chinatown Dining Week, running January 17-27, 2019.
Next to be profiled: we sat down with Edgar Gutierrez, owner of Kanto 98 St. Eatery, 10636 98 Street.
Why did you decide to open the restaurant?
I have two other restaurants, Rostizado and Tres Carnales, that I run with my business partners. But It has always been my dream to open a restaurant [on my own]. Eating out was such a big part of my life growing up. It’s how my mom and I used to bond.
Kanto came about when I was taking Filipino martial arts that brought me back to my roots. I started researching more and just fell in love with the culture all over again and wanted to take it more seriously. So as soon as this space was open, I took over and opened Kanto. Before I came to Canada, I spent a lot of time outside; Kanto means “corner” or “where two streets meet”. [Back home] there were always steamed buns and barbeque sold on the streets. We would play “cara y cruz” (heads or tails), eat BBQ and read comics. Those were a part of my last memories in the Philippines. Kanto is a combination of all those things. It’s an accumulation of my love for food and the restaurant culture.
How long has the restaurant been open?
What is the style of cuisine served at the restaurant?
We serve casual Filipino street food; it’s mostly an in and out type of setting. If you go anywhere in the Philippines you will find Bao (steamed buns}, fried chicken and barbeque being sold on the streets.
What makes your restaurant special?
There are a lot of Filipino restaurants in Edmonton, but they are all the same; I thought a different approach would widen the scope. Filipino food is very individualized which makes it hard to put it out in the mainstream. I researched trendy Filipino food and decided on items that were easier to introduce.
Why do you think people should dine in Chinatown?
Chinatown is so diverse; you can get Vietnamese, Chinese, African, Filipino food! It’s open late, very convenient, and close to downtown. There are lot of things you can do, from shopping, eating, and exploring. I come to Chinatown for inspiration.
Do you have any hopes for the future of Edmonton’s Chinatown?
I hope we resolve a lot of the health issues around Chinatown. I’m not sure how exactly to tackle the problems in Chinatown but maybe a bigger facility for the homeless that could be a one-stop shop for all their needs. A place where nobody gets turned away.
Kanto 98 St. Eatery will be offering a 2-course dinner menu for $15 during Chinatown Dining Week. Check it out, along with the other special menus, here.