Solstice Seasonal Cuisine
By Athena Raypold

Owner Operated

Solstice Seasonal Cuisine managing partner, Jon Elson, describes working in a restaurant as “half work and half hanging out with your friends." So, it’s no surprise that his former coworkers, chefs Jan Trittenbach and Jamin Sharp, and barman Josh Meachem, are now his business partners. Born out of a desire not only to provide a distinctive, quality experience to diners, but also to give staff the pride of ownership, Solstice Seasonal Cuisine is owned and operated by partners with extensive experience in the hospitality industry.

As managing partner, Jon not only creates the wine, beer and cocktail programs and runs the front of house, but he also serves patrons daily. “On any given day at Solstice, your table could be served by an owner, drinks made by an owner, food made by an owner, of the restaurant," says Jon. "So we really try to bring a personal touch, a personal investment, into each diner’s experience." Having worked in restaurants owned by industry outsiders, Solstice’s partners are passionate about the added value that owners themselves bring to patrons: They are knowledgeable, experienced, invested.

We change our menu quarterly. Every three months, coinciding with the equinox or solstice, we launch a new menu for the season. So everything, in a way, is a feature or temporary. - Jon Elson, managing partner
Solstic Seasonal Cuisine offers a balance between global cuisine and locally sourced food.

Local and Global

Solstice’s executive, award-winning chef, Jan Trittenbach, is Swiss German and his business and kitchen partner, Chef Jamin Sharp, is an Albertan who spent a year studying in France. Between the two, the food at Solstice is Canadian cuisine with a European influence, which complements the restaurant's philosophy. “We knew we wanted to do something rotational that really kind of bridged the gap between local and international sourcing; we highlight local producers but with a global focus,” says Jon.

Supporting local producers while also sourcing internationally, Solstice hits up the farmers' market weekly, grows their own herb shoots and sprouts in-house, and prioritizes quality and freshness above all else. “It’s about balance,” Jon says.”We’re not going to cast out products just because we can’t get it here.”

Solstice Seasonal Cuisine's chef and part-owner is a Gold Medal Plates winner.

Seasonal Food and Casual Fine Dining

“We change our menu quarterly,” Jon says. “Every three months, coinciding with the equinox or solstice, we launch a new menu for the season. So everything, in a way, is a feature or temporary.”

As such, freshness is central to Solstice’s ideology, along with the idea that you don’t have to be fancy to enjoy fine food. “We don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable here,” Jon says. “It’s not meant to be a stuffy place. We try to keep the atmosphere really light, we keep the music eclectic, we hope that anyone can feel comfortable in a tee shirt and jeans or in a suit. We intentionally keep the décor minimalist because we really want the product to be the star. I think that we have some of the nicest food coming out of our kitchen and some of the best drinks, as well. We don’t feel that that has to come with putting on airs or being someone you’re not. If you appreciate nice food, come in and enjoy it."

Solstice Seasonal Cuisine may serve fancy cuisine but they do so in a relaxed, casual environment.

Community Over Competition

As an independent restaurant, Solstice is part of Westmount’s small business community, and it’s centred in the middle of Edmonton’s nascent 124 Street dining scene.

Since opening on 124 Street, Solstice has been joined by other local eateries such as Dovetail Delicatessen, Prairie Noodle and Relish Burger, while complementing mainstays like RGE RD, North 53 and Canteen. “We want everyone on the strip to do really well,” Jon says. “Everything down here is an independent, boutique spot. There really is enough to go around for everybody. We try not to be so competitive; when we eat out, we stick to the area, we really try to support the area. It’s not this fierce, competitive thing. What’s good for your spot, is good for my spot. Let’s do this together.”

Solstice Seasonal Cuisine is located on 124 Street, an up-and-coming area of the city.
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