Connection, Comfort, and Delicious Food


March 8, 2024

Words by: Twyla Campbell

Photography by: Erin Walker

Arbour serves up a winning combination

Andrew Rachinski had been scouting possible restaurant locations for a couple of years when he got word of a pizza shop on Whyte Avenue not renewing its lease. Snugly ensconced in the heart of Old Strathcona, it’s a cherry of a spot. He made his move. 

Rachinski’s dream of a French-style bistro had been cooking on the back burner for a while, but flamed out when COVID-19 came to town.

“Everything works out. It was probably a good thing that we didn’t go ahead with that idea,” he says referring to the economic havoc the pandemic wreaked on businesses.

Timing and location are two crucial aspects of establishing a business, and both seem to be tracking well for Rachinksi, who has seen a steady flow of customers since opening the doors to Arbour in July 2023.

Arbour Edmonton

Without a great food and drink program, though, timing and location won’t keep those doors open. Thankfully, what’s coming out of the kitchen and from the (very pretty) bar isn’t giving Rachinski any cause for concern. 

Arbour’s menu features an enticing list of full-flavoured shared plates from the skilled hands of chef Greg Sweeney with the assistance of sous chef, Lance Gervacio and a rock solid kitchen team. 

Sweeney’s impressive resume includes time in the kitchen at Dogwood (Culina), London Local, Pip, Three Vikings, and Royale, a Kevin Cam (Baijiu) burger joint on 104 Street. Culinary influences from his travels throughout Asia and Mexico now show themselves in dishes like Massaman braised chuck and Thai beef tartare. Growing up with friends of Middle Eastern backgrounds gave him a taste of ingredients like dukkah, a condiment made of nuts, seeds and spices, and shatta, a hot sauce, both of which he makes from scratch and insinuates into dishes like the pomegranate-glazed squash. What’s impressive is Sweeney’s restraint, a rare and valuable trait in a chef especially when creating unique dishes made with bold-flavoured ingredients.

“I knew how skilled he was,” Rachinski says. “I’m pretty comfortable in the kitchen, but Greg is at a whole other level. It’s fun to watch him create.”

Giving Sweeney free reign with the menu allowed Rachinski to focus on revamping the physical space. Some design components remained intact, like the brickwork and the arches, but other elements like new upholstery, a scrolled iron railing, and retro landscaping blocks were brought in to make the space inherently his. Rachinksi envisioned a space with some of those French bistro traits that he’s long admired, but one that, first and foremost, was comfortable and invited conversation. 

“Sunday dinners used to be where people sat down and socialized instead of ordering take-out food and eating in front of a TV,” he explains. “I wanted a space that would help bring connection back into people’s lives.”

Even on a dreary winter’s day, stepping through the doors of Arbour is like entering an auntie’s warm kitchen, where comfort food and a surprise snack await. You know that both will be offered and both will be delicious. 

Rachinksi’s dream has come to life in a space that offers familiarity with a spark of anticipation. Comfort and conviviality are here, too. If an arbour is a place where one seeks shelter, then this is the shelter we need right now. 

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