Only in Calgary
by Shelley Boettcher and Richard White
When Everyday Tourist Richard White
emailed food and wine writer Shelley
Boettcher to ask for a list of her favourite
local eateries, it opened a conversation
about Calgary’s must-try restaurants and
There are the obvious things that others have written
about, such as ginger beef (invented in Calgary) and
the Caesar cocktail, also a local creation. But there are
traditional eateries that have set Calgary apart for ages.
Here are 10 classic places we tell non-Calgarians
about – and take them there to eat whenever
they’re in town.
1. BLACKFOOT TRUCKSTOP is an authentic truck stop, so be prepared to
dine with a cast of characters. Come for the food (typical diner menu) but
stay for the pies. Founded in 1956, this place is world-famous for its skyhigh
(8 inches of meringue) flapper pie, but the banana cream and lemon
meringue are fab, too. Kids will love the model train that circles overhead.
1840 - 9th AVENUE SE_blackfootdiner.ca
2. BOTTLESCREW BILL’S PUB/BUZZARD’S RESTAURANT AND BAR
has been serving beer from around the world since 1985, and now there’s
a big list of local brews, too. During the Calgary Stampede, however, Shelley
takes fearless out-of-town family members looking for something they’ll
never get at home – prairie oysters, only available at the Testicle Festival.
140 - 10th AVENUE SW_bottlescrewbill.com
3. CAESAR’S STEAK HOUSE AND LOUNGE was founded in 1972 and
is still family-owned. When you’re in need of some good Alberta beef,
and you can’t be bothered to cook it yourself, this is the place to go. The
steak is just as good as it was way back when, but, thanks to Alberta’s
privatized liquor imports, the wine list is considerably better.
512 - 4th AVENUE SW (the original location) or #110, 10816 MACLEOD
4. CHICKEN ON THE WAY has been serving chicken that’s crispy on the
outside and juicy on the inside at its flagship Kensington location since
1958, but the corn fritters and handmade fries are musts, too.
1443 KENSINGTON ROAD NW_chickenonthewaycalgary.ca
5. NICK’S STEAKHOUSE AND PIZZA opened in 1979, and when you
walk in, you’ll wonder if anything has changed since then. (The answer:
Very little.) This is the place to go for celebratory pizza after a Calgary
Stampeders win, or to mark the end of a term at the University of Calgary.
It’s mobbed every Mother’s Day and Friday and Saturday nights, too.
2430 CROWCHILD TRAIL NW_nickssteakandpizza.com
6. PETERS’ DRIVE-IN has been serving up great milkshakes since 1964.
Today, this popular drive-through offers more than 25 flavours. Some
are traditional; some (licorice-lime, toasted marshmallow), not so much.
All the milkshakes are famous for being so thick, your cheeks hurt by the
time you finish one.
219 - 16th AVENUE NE_petersdrivein.com
7. PULCINELLA serves up authentic Napoletana pizzas, as chef Domenic
Tudda is one of only a handful of North Americans who are certified by
Italy’s Associazione Pizzaioli Napolitani. It’s kind-of like having the blessing
of the Pope. Pulcinella offers more than 15 pizzas with names like Nduja
Sausage, Crudo and Quattro Stagioni. We haven’t had one we didn’t like.
1147 KENSINGTON CRESCENT NW_pulcinella.ca
8. THE SHIP & ANCHOR PUB’s patio is the place to be on a sunny chinook
afternoon in February, or any time during the summer. And if it’s raining?
Head inside to watch soccer or live music, while enjoying a pint of Big Rock
Trad and some hand-cut fries and mayo. Minors welcome until 7 p.m.
534 - 17th AVENUE SW_shipandanchor.com
9. SPOLUMBO’S was founded by three former CFL football players in 1991
and it’s famous for its sandwiches – cutlet parmigiana is very popular. But
Richard’s favourite is the savoury meatball sandwich. Bring an extra shirt,
as eating here can get very messy.
13 - 9th AVENUE SE_spolumbos.com
10. TEA TRADER is worth the climb up the stairs, as you’re transported
from the new world to the old world. At any given time, Tea Trader has
100 to 160 teas in stock, imported directly from India, China, Sri Lanka
and Taiwan. Try Richard’s favourite lapsang souchong, or pick up SCOBY
(symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) to make kombucha.
1228A - 9th AVENUE SE_teatrader.com
Read entire article in the digital issue of City Palate.