So this past Sunday I posted about 50 things that make me happy.
Somewhere buried in that list was Blue Gardenia Salad.
It’s all about the garlic dressing.
I discovered Blue Gardenia when I worked down the street at 66 Slater. At 130 Albert, they were just a hop, skip and a jump from my office. Their menu includes Canadian, Italian and Lebanese foods. You can dine in or take out.
But I can’t really comment on anything except the salad. Because that’s all I ever ate.
My job changed and I moved out of downtown to Tunney’s Pasture.
But whenever work brings me into the downtown, I pick up salad.
For the entire office.
At first it was just me and some of the others in exile from downtown.
But we spread the word, disproving The Simpsons and demonstrating that you do, indeed, make friends with salad.
Ever since posting about it on Sunday, I’ve had Blue Gardenia on the brain.
So, when I had a 11:15am meeting downtown today, I announced a salad run, everyone placed their orders, and I was off!
After my meeting, I zipped over to 130 Albert, ran down the stairs to the basement, and discovered:
No Blue Gardenia.
Sometime in the last month it had closed up shop and gone away.
It had the lonely abandoned look of, well, the above picture minus the Western theme.
I stood there just staring for a moment.
I’d had no inkling it had been closing.
And I’d been coming often enough for long enough that I felt I’d hit polite chatter status with the owners.
I knew they’d taken a hit when the food trucks increased. And that being in a basement was a challenge.
I didn’t get to say goodbye.
I’d had my LAST Blue Gardenia salad and NOT KNOWN to savour it just a little more.
A wave of despairing loss hit me.
Because it isn’t just about me.
How would I break this to the Blue Gardenia cult at Tunney’s Pasture?
Maybe some music to soften the blow?
And what were we suppose to all eat for lunch today?!
We might need a teleconference in order to….
I pulled myself together, walked across the hall, and asked the nice folks at the business there if they knew what had happened.
Closed about a month ago.
Did it move somewhere?
I was about to leave when …
But I’ve heard there’s a second one at the corner of Bank and Queen – hidden in behind the Scotiabank.
She’d never been there, but I was off!
Hope renewed and questing for salad.
Sure enough, there it was. Right where she said it would be.
At 222 Queen St. A smaller version of salad heaven.
I made my way to the counter and asked if they made the same salad as the Blue Gardenia that closed over on Albert.
I was informed, not only did they do that, but that they were the ORIGINAL Blue Gardenia.
Apparently we’d been enjoyed son of Blue Gardenia salad all this time!
Whatever. I bonded with the guy behind me in line while I waited for my salads, flooded with relief that we’d all get our garlic fix.
I made it back to Tunney’s WITH salad.
There followed much dancing and merriment.
“Pieter Bruegel the Elder – The Peasant Dance – WGA3499” by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) – Web Gallery of Art: Image Info about artwork. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Have you ever abruptly discovered that a restaurant you loved closed? Did you ever rediscover one you thought was gone? Let me know!
Journeys of The Zoo said:
My cousin was visiting the Ottawa downtown recently and said that Sparks Street was dead. I haven’t worked there since 2005 so what do I know. Glad that you got your salad.
So, was it as good as the non-original salad?
It had less olives, but that might have just been a one-time observation. We shall have to test a few more times to be able to accurately evaluate salad consistency issues 🙂
And Sparks is a bit dead at the moment yes. I think the construction on the Wellington Building didn’t help, and there’s been other places that have left. That said, a Biermarket opened in the former Zellers building which is drawing some crowds, so that’s hopeful.
Julie Deutscher said:
Oh my, I was grieving for you when you wrote, “I didn’t get to say goodbye.
I’d had my LAST Blue Gardenia salad and NOT KNOWN to savour it just a little more.”
Life lesson there.
So glad you found your salad. It looks awesome. Is that tuna or chicken? 🙂
It’s chicken 🙂 But they do it with ham too – which is my favourite 🙂
My daughter and I cried when a restaurant called Tacos Nacos closed 😦 It was a few years ago and I never ate any Mexican food since.
You really can get attached to restaurants. We also use to have a Golden Griddle near our place – pancake house. My mom and I use to go there and have breakfast for dinner every now and then together when I was a teenager. One of those “things we did” together. We were both sad when it closed.
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Yes, it is not only about some delicious food, but also the memories. Unfortunately, small restaurants seldom last forever…
Brenda Davis Harsham said:
I’m so glad your tale of salad disappearance ended happily. We had a similar event with a Thai place. But then the second one closed! Disaster!
Oh no! That really IS sad. I hope you eventually found another Thai place to love 😉
Brenda Davis Harsham said:
We found a Thai place to plug the gap, but now that place closed, too. We are rudderless in searching for a new one. So sad.
Thank you for commenting on the Blue Gardenia. I had a fixing for it and unfortunately found the restaurant closed. Could not believe it. Then searched the internet and all the comments were dated back 2009, 2011, so not recent. Searching Blue Gardenia on the internet, your blog shows up… Read that information with delight. Will be heading for a ham salad.
Happy to help spread the good word. I hope you got your salad fix. I had one Tuesday 🙂
Blue Gardenia salad is the ultimate salad of all salads! I worked downtown Ottawa since 1980 for close to 25 years. It used to be on Slater, then burned down and re-opened on Bank St. Then a small outlet counter also opened and then 130 Albert. I got to befriend Joe and his wife and some of the staff who had worked at another restaurant in one of buildings I worked in on Sparks St. In any case, I found out why Joe closed shop. In any case, I am so happy that there is still one outlet left at 222
Queen. Now that I am retired, I still meet with old colleagues and go for Blue Gardenia Salad. I even buy the dressing to bring home and make the salad myself. There is just something about that salad!!
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Just for you – and your comment – I purposefully went to Blue Gardenia today for a salad for lunch 😉 It was – as always – awesome. I’ve tried to “faux gardenia” at home and never really pulled it off – I agree – there really is something about THAT salad.
And thanks for the history here! I didn’t know the first bit about a fire?