Making It WorkPublished on November 5, 2020

  • The Luxe
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Parlour
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Blackbook Lifestyle
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

The restaurant and event industry has been hit hard in 2020, but the creative juices continue to flow with virtual celebrations and creative ways to offer up in-person experiences.


Neil Gowe was part of the original Luxe Bistro crew when it first opened. He worked there for 13 years, first as a server, then sommelier and eventually a beverage manager for all the Firestone Group restaurants. He left to open his own restaurants, but stayed on as a wine consultant with Luxe until December of 2019.

The Luxe vibe is in his blood and recently he became its new owner. “I always loved the atmosphere of Luxe. I loved the location. It just has a great energy about it,” he offers enthusiastically while also recognizing the trials he faces as a restaurant owner right now. “I think the biggest challenge is the unknown. We can’t really plan for what we can’t control. But I also see that the industry is becoming more and more innovative with ways to create and sustain business in these challenging times.”

The one thing industry professionals can control is their passion for food, wine and hospitality. Neil is optimistic that this, coupled with Luxe’s established reputation as a go-to steakhouse at a corner of  York Street, in the ByWard Market, will help it to thrive for years to come.


Wellington West is home to a creative new event and culinary market space called Parlour. Located at 1319 Wellington St. West, Parlour is a 4,000 square-foot event space in a recently renovated 1922 brick building with a (pre-COVID) capacity of 250 people. Erin Clatney (above), of DISH Catering, and her daughters, Charlotte DePonte and Cleo Clatney, have partnered in this family-run initiative to address the need for a mid-sized transformable venue in Ottawa for corporate, social and community-based initiatives.

For now, Parlour is hosting private events of up to 50 people and will be turning the space into a purveyors’ market. An outdoor food shack and grill by in-house caterer, DISH, offers casual takeaway food with curated wines and beer to go, or guests can grab a seat on the cozy tree-lined patio courtyard behind the building on Grange Avenue.

Bookings made at


Blackbook Lifestyle, co-owned by James Jefferson (seated on the right) and Daniel Mackinnon, is celebrating 10 years in 2020. As one of the leading event planners in the nation’s capital they want to plan a party, but that will have to wait. For now, they’ll simply take “good wishes.”

Connect with them on social @blackbooklifestyle to wish them a happy anniversary!

Sandy Connell

Looking for more living articles?


Other News

Looking for more?

Sign up for our Newsletter