Need Help Making Kitchener Hip

With so much information at our finger tips you would think it would be easier to motivate yourself to have variety in your lifestyle. We sometimes attempt to find something different to do within the city and have to filter through the mountains of junk online to find it. We then have to navigate through all of the restaurants in the city to find the family owned non-chain establishments that gets decent reviews. We get bombarded by advertising from the big chains, and after spending 30 min trying to find somewhere different to go, you end up settling on Swiss Chalet, it’s the easiest. Off of the top of your head name places to eat for tonight that aren’t chains. I can only think of one or two right away. We have to try hard to think outside the box when it comes to almost all of the entertainment in the city. Why aren’t there easy ways to find out cool places to eat and hang out?

I try to find things to do in the city, and end up getting frustrated by the difficulty. Slicing and dicing through the internet trying to find some type of website that will give you a small nugget of knowledge rather than going to the theater to watch whatever “masterpiece” that Michael Bay has released.

You hear about cool things that other people do, but have no idea where they found out about this event or where it was even located. I have realized that unless it is spoon-fed to people they will not make any effort whatsoever. There is a theater in Kitchener that sells craft beer…. It also doesn’t charge $17.00 for popcorn and a pop. It charges $10.00 for a craft beer and a popcorn. Did you know that there is a restaurant downtown Kitchener that sells banh-mi Vietnamese subs (delicious) for $3.00? They actually had a sign outside apologizing that they had to raise the price from $2.75 to $3.00. Word of mouth shouldn’t have to be the only way that these businesses get recognition. Not with the internet at your fingertips. There are sites like Trip Advisor that make it a bit easier. But if I was to wager I would guess that maybe 2 in 10 people use this to make choices on places to eat.

We are zombies that have settled for over-priced mediocrity. Afraid of the unknown. Don’t want to get out of our comfort zones whatsoever. Not wanting to do any type of work to find the hidden gems. Putting your feet up on your lazy boy, throwing on the Big Bang Theory, engulfing your Domino’s Pizza with a Bud Lite in hand ready to face your Friday night head on with your subconscious mind making the easy decisions for you. Maybe we think we deserve a weekend of not having to think. Maybe this is how we unwind. How do we feel on Sunday evening? Well, I hate Monday’s quite a bit more when I feel like I wasted my whole weekend doing exactly what I did for the previous 3 weekends.

Unfortunately I do not have all of the answers. I can only review the things that I have tried and the things that I give the thumbs up to. Some of you have tried the places that I recommended, and enjoyed it. Most of you still haven’t tried, but like the idea of it, can’t push yourself to actually do it. Then there are others. The Zombie Herd. You don’t even want to try it. I have never been disappointed by this place or that place. I don’t need to try this out, this is good enough. I was once one of you. You can break free from this. There are people out there that do and make great things, and we have no idea. Just because they don’t have the money to advertise and you have never heard of it doesn’t mean that it’s terrible. It means you have never heard of it. I do not want to live in a world where Elison’s Bistro or Gilt has to close down so that a Boston Pizza or a Crabby Joe’s can go in its place.

I just got back from New York and I was intrigued by all of the different things there was to do. Now of course KW is not New York, but there are some similarities with all of the different places to go and eat. The majority I had never of. It was a very difficult choice picking between some of the best reviewed restaurants. In most Canadian cities it’s chain after chain. We have a country full of diversity and we somehow have this stigma in certain cities of supporting anything new. It’s becoming better though the younger generation makes me proud. Tech start-ups have brought out interesting young folks that seem less satisfied with the everyday. We are picking up steam in this city. Now if we just had a website that could pull it all together. Restaurant, entertainment, pub, music, and everything Kitchener reviews. KW Awesome where are you on this? Communitech has done a great job of getting talented people with money here. We are looking for places to go and things to eat. Reviewing the best of everything. Inexpensive, moderate, and fine dining. Tell us about the things going on Starlight or Maxwell’s. Sgt Peppers Album by the Beatles was just done by the symphony orchestra and Steven Page formerly of the Barenaked Ladies was a part of it. Pretty cool! Did anybody else know about this? Sort through the mess. Many great things are happening here, we just need a website to tell us about it. Help!

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Enlightened by Twitter about Downtown Kitchener

I have been enlightened by Twitter. It’s not the way that you would think that it would happen though. I have added everything in the area of KW. Anything from restaurants, social groups, board game cafes, and theaters. Each and every day I can scroll through the Twitter feed and find out what’s happening right around the corner. The internet is a scorched earth sometimes to find correct information. Companies don’t have time to put everything that is going on up on their website constantly. Twitter is a needed tool for local businesses to access as many people as possible in a short time frame.
The other day I found out that there was a produce market that was opening up in Belmont Village for one day. I had no idea that this was even happening until it popped up in my Twitter feed. This seems to be a market that hasn’t quite been discovered by every business. The amount of times that Sara and I have gone to a restaurant because we noticed a $5.00 pint deal at a particular place is astonishing. Downtown Kitchener now advertises $5.00 hump day specials at select businesses downtown. We don’t even look at the websites any longer. There are places that we have never eaten at or didn’t even know existed until we were notified by the hashtag #KWawesome.

I wouldn’t quite say that this is an untapped market, but it’s the only way that advertising works on us. We are the new generation. If you are looking for ways to advertise as a business, and spoiling somebody’s YouTube video is not the answer. You might want to look at Twitter to drum up business. The Boathouse and Imbibe are the best examples in the area for things that seem to work. Word of mouth and social media is practically the only way that these two places have brought in customers. Imbibe unfortunately was forced to close because of rising rental costs at the Museum, but the Boathouse seems to be thriving. If you haven’t been there, check it out. It’s the only outdoor patio that has a view. There is something soothing about sitting by the water and enjoying a pint of beer.

In a city that has historically owned by the Charcoal group we need to help these smaller places. There are more and more places popping up each day in the downtown Kitchener area. Have you heard of La Guanaquita? It’s a brilliant El Salvadorian restaurant above Frankies. It has the best papusas in the city, and offer salsa lessons on certain nights. Want to try something different? Gilt is a sharing restaurant that pushes the boundaries of creative food. They have specials nearly every weekday night. Just want a burger? McCabe’s has one of the best. On Tuesday night they have a half price special for burgers. All of these places are within a 5 minute walk of each other.

When was the last time you went out to Boston Pizza and after the meal was over you said to yourself “That was delicious. That pasta dish was worth every single penny of the $18.95?”

Twitter is the catalyst to everything for me. If there is an advertisement for half price appetizers and $5.00 pints you will have my sights set on you. If you live in this area, add everything KW related to your Twitter feed. You can find things to do, places to go, and stuff to eat within minutes every single day of the week. This city is a difficult city to be bored in while living downtown. Most people think you have to live in Toronto for constant entertainment. I disagree, if we can start to get bigger live music here; which may happen in the near future with the tech district and craft beer boom. This city can thrive. It’s a very exciting time to be in this area. Hope to see everybody out and about. You can catch me enjoying the view from the patio at the Boathouse sometime between the hours of 3-6 on most weekdays.