Culina Highlands Becomes Highlands Kitchen

I like Culina Highlands and Cindy Lazarenko, so I want to pass on this exciting news;

For a few years now, the unassuming little restaurant in the heart of Edmonton’s historic Highlands neighbourhood (6509-112 Avenue) has been winning hearts and awards, first as Bacon, then as Culina Highlands.  Now, owners Cindy Lazarenko and husband Geoff Lilge are bringing the place into it’s own under a new sign, reading simply “HIGHLANDS KITCHEN”.

“Our goal is to incorporate the feedback of our customers and neighbours into our revitalized menu, while reaching a balance with our own family lives”, says Cindy, mother of two young children.   After closing for 6 days (for the last of the major kitchen renovations) starting July 24, HIGHLANDS KITCHEN will officially open its doors at noon on Saturday, July 30, featuring several menu staples of the past along with the commitment to supporting local suppliers, healthier sized portions (also more affordable), some new menu additions and longer hours.  The restaurant will be open 5 days a week, Thursday- Monday from noon-8pm (a little later on the weekends).  “There will be one menu across the board, with a slightly downsized menu for lunches.  We will offer lunch/sandwich specials on Monday, Thursdays and Fridays and brunch specials on Saturday and Sunday”, says Cindy.

The new format will make more efficient use of the prep and cooking time, freeing up greater resources to devote to innovative specials, home-prepared ingredients (“we can make our own sauerkraut!”) and quicker food service.

“HIGHLANDS KITCHEN” will, in many ways, be very much the same as Culina Highlands”, she says.  “We’ll have the same staff and ambience, but the new name will allow us to grow and explore our own identity separately from the other Culina restaurants.  A Highlands Kitchen Family Cookbook is in the works for release in the spring of 2012, as are a collection of food products under the HIGHLANDS KITCHEN name. Cindy will continue to foster culinary collaborations with her brother (Brad Lazarenko, Executive Chef of the Culina family of restaurants), and Cindy and Geoff are excited to see their vision for the restaurant evolve to the next level.

4 thoughts on “Culina Highlands Becomes Highlands Kitchen

  1. I think it’s a mistake to drop the Culina name. I guess if there are differences they can’t resolve and she wants to go in a different direction it makes sense, but I think the Culina brand is a pretty strong one here in Edmonton.

    • As a resident of Highlands (and direct neighbour to the restaurant).

      I feel the exact opposite, when Bacon became Culina, There was a perception that it was bought out by a ‘chain’ (be it a local one), many I spoke to in the neighbourhood felt the same.

      The new branding works better in the location, and identified better with/by the (best) community (in Edmonton). Congrats guys!

  2. I’m a resident too, and have enjoyed eating there several times, but I think the biggest problem is that the place has changed it’s name three times now. Let’s hope they stick with this for a while (even though it’s pretty bland as far as a brand goes).

  3. I like the re-branding as ‘Highlands Kitchen’ and I think it strengthens the neighbourhood identity. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with two distinct restaurant profiles in the same family – it allows for a lot more variety and customizing for customers’ tastes!

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