Grilled cheese lovers (so, basically every Calgarian) rejoice! The comfort food-focused eatery, Grate and Barrell, has finally reopened in their new, quaint location in Bridgeland. If you’ll recall, the restaurant originally debuted in Mission back in late 2015, but was only open for several months before a leasing issue caused owner, Mhairi O’Donnell, to close her doors and look for a new home. A year and a half later, a cozy little home-turned-restaurant on 1 Ave N.E. is where you’ll find her happily grilling sandwiches and ladling out classic tomato soup.
It goes without saying that this no-frills establishment is unapologetically cheesy (literally, not figuratively), serving up a mix of grilled cheese sandwiches with names that pay homage to various Calgarians. The “MBF” (named after Calgary-based musician, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald) is an indulgent combination of marinara sauce, jalapeno popper and monterey jack cheese. Then there’s “The Cowpuncher”, another ode to a local band, filled with pulled pork, gochujang sauce, kimchi, provolone and japaleno jack. It’s too early to know for sure, but all of these certainly sound like sure-fire ways to cure one’s hangover.
To wash your food down, of course you can opt for a water or a can of pop, but since we’ve already thrown our calorie counters to the wind, then why not a pie shake? Essentially a milkshake with the addition of a slice of pie (current offerings include blueberry, apple or cherry pie), these sweet, creamy treats will no doubt be all the rage on a hot summer’s day. Here’s to hoping that Grate adds a liquor upgrade option to this dessert milkshakes because, personally, I think a little spiced rum in an apple pie ‘shake could be something really special.
Aside from the sandwiches and pie shakes, one of the things getting a surprising amount of attention is one of Grate’s side options. Bugles, the crispy corn, cone-shaped junk food are hard to find in Canada, but this eatery has a healthy supply of them. If you have fond memories of Bugles from your youth, then this alone makes Grate worth a try. If you could care less about Bugles, perhaps you’ll find tater tots, Hickory Sticks or Cheetos more complimentary to your sandwich.
The house that Grate inhabits is pretty cozy, with only about 12 seats and a small bar beside the window, but come May long weekend, O’Donnell is hoping their backyard and alleyway patio will be in operation. The large (in comparison) outdoor space will quadruple the seating and make for a fun place to sit down, have a couple drinks (wine and beer will be available on tap here by mid-April) and soak up thesummer sun.
Grate and Barrel can be found at 627 1 Ave N.E. and is open Monday to Saturday 11-3 (for more information check out their Facebook page here)