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Beet Happening is the modern lunch counter that Winnipeggers need.
“We are a counter service café that serves up high quality and nutritious food, especially for those with a busy lifestyle,” owner Justin Ludwar explains. “Everything on our menu is made fresh and ready to serve. Being near schools and the Health Sciences Center, we designed our menu for people who don’t have an hour for lunch and want to pick up something hearty and well-balanced.”
Their salads, which will be available at My Farmers’ Market in the very near future, are on of their most popular items, providing a healthy, pre-made option that feels leisurely.
“We proudly make everything from scratch, including a variety of baked goods, gluten-free oatmeal, house-made granola, breakfast empanadas, sausage rolls, bakery-style pizzettes, gluten-free savoury quiches, house-made soups, unique lunch specials, and our popular craft salads. We try to provide options for all carnivores, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets.”
Ludwar first got the idea for Beet Happening (at 818 Notre Dame Avenue, Winnipeg) when he worked as an assistant chef at an organic deli in Scotland. “I had been working as an artist in the social services industry for over a decade and was looking for a change,” says Ludwar. “They graciously hired me and took on some of my ideas for their menu and they sold well. I kept working there, developing recipes and gaining experience in the field.” Upon returning to Canada in 2011, Ludwar took business courses, gained experience in the field, and wrote up his business plan before opening up Beet Happening.
Inspired by other small independent businesses, Ludwar observes that although operating his own cafe is a huge amount of work, it’s absolutely worth it. “Nils and Vanessa from Parlour and Little Sister Coffee Maker really kick started a movement in Winnipeg giving the confidence for people like me to take some risks and try opening up a place of my own… nothing beats the feeling of a customer walking in and totally getting and appreciating what you are trying to do.”
An important aspect of Beet Happening is to promote a healthy and well-balanced diet. “Not everyone likes to cook nor has the time to cook. People are really starting to realize that the faster the food, the less healthy and sustainable it is. If you are willing to spend $7 on a latte, $10 to $14 for a huge multi-ingredient salad is more than reasonable.”