January 1st, New Years Day, I headed to downtown Ottawa to get away from home for lunch and see how the new year was progressing.
With the Bell Capital Cup hockey tournament wrapping up and Ottawa being a tourist city I expected a few restaurants to be open to respond to the masses.
Sadly, I was wrong. I toured the Byward Market area to find all the restaurants locked up and dark. Dumbfounded bleary eyed tourists basically had two choices. Go the McDonald's on Rideau Street or the overpriced Le Moulin de Provence. I passed by the window of Le Moulin to see a bustling restaurant. But overpriced pastries weren't really my cup of tea (which by the way was probably overpriced as well but I didn't check).
Over at McDonald's I cut through with possible intentions of a Big Mac meal. I entered the long hallway from George Street and move through to find a line that wound itself over to front door with only two cash registers open and a overrun staff. So much for the Big Mac.
I continued down Rideau Street thinking it would be a good time to try out the Gabriel Pizza (175 Rideau Street) that I had walked by plenty of times and never went in. Failing that I couldjust call it day and go home.
But I was in luck, the usual A-Frame advertising different pizza deals was set out on the sidewalk. I tried the door and it opened! I ventured inside with hope! With excitement as no one else was there! I waited patiently at the counter for about two minutes. No one came up and no background noise could be heard, not even a mouse. I even gave one last ditch effort.... "Hello!" I bellowed. Nothing, only the sound of passing traffic. The next sound in the store was me opening the front door and leaving.
Would of loved a slice of Gabriel's pizza, but nobody was there to cook or serve it up. Instead, I walked down the street to 1 for 1 Pizza and grabbed a slice of pizza there.
Overall, I'm not sure why this Gabriels Pizza was even open. Sure someone went to the trouble of putting out the sandwich board, turning on the lights and unlocking the door. But with no pizza at the counter and no staff present it seemed like false advertising pizza slices available on the sandwich board out front. The only thing I was surprised of was that local homeless hadn't taken advantage of the open warm storefront with nobody in it. Heck, they could have run the counter!
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