There are some bars or restaurants that you’ve grown so accustomed to seeing, you almost take them for granted. But those places that have become popular destinations for dinners, dates, and family food all have backstories that are a testament to their sustained acclaim over the years. Here’s the scoop on five well-known food and drink spots across Alberta we’ve all come to know and love!
Craft Beer Market: The Pioneer
Canada’s first large format beer-focused restaurant also boasts the country’s biggest selection of draft beers. Back in 2011 when they first opened in Calgary, craft beer wasn’t on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Fast-forward six years, and you can sip on more than 100 beers on tap at each of Craft’s locations.
Not a fan of ale? Sample a “craft-tail,” a boozy beer-cocktail. Another surprise? Craft is family friendly until 9 p.m.!
Number of locations: Four, with two under construction. Expect South Centre to open this summer, and Toronto in the fall.
Best loved dish: Fast Food Sushi. Craft’s take on sushi is a deconstructed cheeseburger: patty, fries and all, wrapped in bacon and served with wasabi mayo.
Fun fact: Craft Beer Market is the largest restaurant in Canada to be LEED certified. Occupying the same footprint where Mother Tuckers stood for thirtyyears, much of the wood inside this popular gastro-pub was reclaimed from the former restaurant.
King’s Restaurant: The Comfort Food Curator
A staple on the Calgary food scene for the past 40 years, this unassuming restaurant is a testament to build it and they will come. Situated on the edge of an industrial park on Calgary’s Barlow Trail, their soul satisfying food — in particular, warm bowls of wonton soup — have achieved cult status from a diverse crowd.
Touted as the home of the wor wonton, everything from the wonton wrappers right down to the seasoning and sauces is made from scratch. Speaking of sauces, their Heavenly Hot Sauce just might be considered Alberta’s secondary liquid gold. A melange of garlic, several types of pepper and chili oil, it’s more flavourful than it is hot, and elevates meals from good to great. Pick a jar up on your way out and drizzle some overtop a burger or even vanilla ice cream.
Number of locations: Five across Alberta
Best loved dish: Wonton soup, naturally!
Fun fact: King’s has hand-wrapped more than 50 million wontons.
Chachi’s: The Gourmet Sandwich Maker
Think of the best restaurant sandwich you’ve ever scarfed back, and then imagine paying a fraction of the price and getting it to go. That’s the beauty of Chachi’s. Bringing better sandwiches to the food court, this Alberta joint pays homage to great cuts of meat, local bakers and cheesemongers.
Every eight weeks, you’ll find a new feature sandwich ranging from the holiday season’s Cran and Brie, to Korean pork with gochujang sauce. Gluten-friendly options are available, and if you’re really not into carbing try one of their crisp green salads.
Number of locations: 17 and counting.
Best loved dish: The Cali. A hearty construction of chicken breast, smoked turkey, double smoked bacon, cheddar, homemade guacamole, tomato, romaine lettuce and spicy mayo sandwiched in a rustic ciabatta roll.
Fun fact: Chachi’s sells so many pickles as sides, they just might be the largest independent pickle retailer in Canada!
Edo Japan: The Quick and Healthy
Serving more than nine million customers a year, a diverse product mix has kept this Calgary-based company in the game for almost 40 years. Besides their popular teriyaki meals, sushi, bento boxes, and rice and noodle bowls keep customers coming back for quick and healthy Asian eats.
Fresh food is made to order, and is cooked on a traditional Japanese teppan grill. All sauces are made in-house, but don’t ask for their teriyaki recipe. It’s a closely guarded secret. Not all diners realize Edo meals can be customized. You can swap in brown rice for white, add extra broccoli or double up on the veg and forgo rice all together.
Number of locations: More than 115 in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Ontario.
Best loved dish: Edo’s signature dishes of teriyaki chicken and sukiyaki beef remain the most popular.
Fun fact: Edo was founded in Calgary in 1979 by a Japanese Buddhist Minister.
Moxies: The Trendy Kid
Moxies began operations in Calgary in 1986, and it remains headquartered here today. Designed with global inspiration, the menu features a wide variety of cultures as evidenced by Korean Fried Cauliflower, Tuna Poke in a Jar and Lois Lake Lemon Herb Salmon.
Here, it’s not just about the food. Moxies sports an admirable cocktail program (despite their White Peach Bellini being a crowd favourite). Not many restaurants have their own beer, but you’ll find two exclusive lagers brewed by Calgary’s Big Rock Brewery on tap at Moxies.
Number of locations: A whopping 65, with one in Dallas, Texas
Best loved dish: For appies, folks love to share the calamari. When it comes to mains, the Chicken Madeira Rigatoni is the most requested.
Fun fact: The white chocolate brownie is their most shared item on social media.