By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
Miljan Karac doesn’t buy into the perception that the downtown is a scary place that people are unwilling to venture into.
His restaurant, Kantina, located on Talbot Street, has been operating since 2010, offering up a mix of Eastern European and world cuisine. Of course, like any business owner, Karac would like to see more people coming downtown and he has started his own small effort to help achieve that.
Actually, Karac is hoping his idea, Break the Chain, will show people they don’t have to avoid the downtown and they can try more than the same old “copy and paste” selections of larger chain restaurants.
“The words Break the Chain don’t necessarily mean don’t go to a chain restaurant. Nobody can tell you what to do,” Karac said. “But what we are suggesting is break the chain of continuously going back to the same place for the same plate. It is about exploring.”
Karac came up with the idea for Break the Chain while driving around suburban London, taking note of people’s typical restaurant selections. And as he believes there is no reason for people to avoid the downtown, Karac is hoping he can lead them to a new experience.
“What I saw was a lot of people going to the good old places where they always know what they are getting. They go to, let’s call it Chain Restaurant No. 1, no matter where you are in the world, there is a 99 per cent chance it will be the same menu, same food, same ingredients, same furniture,” Karac said. “Our idea is allowing people to explore other options. To come downtown and see what all the independent restaurants are about.”
Every Tuesday during the fall/winter season, Kantina’s menu will offer customers some new dining experiences on a pay-what-you-can basis. For many people, Karac said, the Sunday family dinner is a tradition. And that leads to leftovers on Monday.
What happens then on Tuesday — either cooking dinner or order out — formed the basis of Break the Chain.
“The menu will change, every Tuesday it won’t necessarily change 100 per cent, but items will change depending on what we come up with,” Karac said. “If you had something here on a Tuesday last week, and you thought about doing it again another Tuesday, you would see something different. It gets people trying different things.”
While the rotating items on the Tuesday menu is a unique part of Break the Chain, Brian Blatnicki, Kantina’s marketing consultant, says the flexible pricing is another incentive.
“The goal is to offer an experience that we feel is truly unmatched, at a cost that is determined by what the diner feels they should pay,” Blatnicki said. “We’re confident that diners, once they try some of the outstanding alternative cuisine available in London, will be back for more.”
For Karac, Break the Chain offers up people the idea to try something new, both in terms of what is on their plate, and in the location they are eating. And if that idea draws more people to the downtown, whether they necessarily visit his restaurant or not, Karac said the promotion will be a success.
“We are hoping we can bring more people downtown. Of course we would like a lot of business, but we want more people downtown, meaning they are going to other places as well,” Karac said. “There are probably, within a kilometre of us, probably 15 or 20 restaurants that are in the same boat, so to speak. I am excited by the idea. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. You don’t know something unless you try it.”
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