Welcome to a whole new way to explore the good life in Airdrie by keeping up with Airdrie’s top chefs, foodies, and enthusiasts. Watch this space regularly for what’s cooking around town, great ideas for your own dinner table or tempting reasons to dine out more often. From fas-cas to farm-to-table, filling your growler or filling your freezer, TASTEairdrie is for foodies!
The deluxe diner
Burger lovers take note: Abe’s Restaurant, located in Kingsview Market, offers up big, juicy burgers and other classic diner food with a focus on quality. The sleek, modern decor with an open kitchen, where customers can see their meals being prepared, complements the fresh, locally sourced menu offerings.
Owner Satish Sappani says customers at the casual, fine-dining restaurant may notice a few changes this spring, with healthier menu options and a switch from counter to full service. What won’t change is the quality Abe’s customers have come to expect. That quality is due to the fresh-ground beef and bison – all locally sourced and never frozen – used to make the classic burgers, with names such as The Mudhead and The Big Lion, for which the restaurant is becoming so popular. “We are very homemade. Everything is fresh,” says Sappani. “People love it because it’s a neighbourhood diner.”
Seasonal dishes a priority
What could be better than a night filled with great food, wine and friends? First & Vine, located on First Avenue, offers a classic bistro experience at lunch, and tapas-style dining – with plates designed to share – taking over the dinner menu.
Chef Michael Frayne prides himself on creating seasonal dishes with fresh Alberta-sourced ingredients. “The quality is way better when the ingredients are in the field a day or two before they get to the customer,” says Frayne, noting to support local producers makes sense for both the environment and taste buds. The restaurant’s wine program also reflects First & Vine’s commitment to quality with its focus on single-estate, family-run wineries.
Frayne is excited about the local ingredients starting to make their appearance; fresh herbs, greens and produce are sure to inspire the chef this season. “Spring is a chance to cook with a lot of the products we haven’t used all winter,” he says.
Great food, high-end service and ambience combine to make Hayloft in Airdrie a restaurant destination for many Airdrians. Owner Hoan Nguyen is proud of the restaurant’s seasonal menu, which changes in accordance with the fresh ingredients, sourced as locally as possible. For example, the restaurant get its chicken and pork from farms in Beiseker and Carstairs and is working on a partnership with Airdrie’s Hanson Ranches for fresh beef. Duck from a local producer is also in the works.
This freshness, combined with Hayloft’s commitment to preparing everything – from bread to dessert to sauces – in house, adds to the quality and wholesomeness of all the items on the menu. “If you are really thinking about what you are eating and what you are putting in your body, that’s what we care about,” says Nguyen. If you haven’t visited Hayloft yet, consider heading there this spring. The restaurant is kicking off its Power Lunch promotion – customers can be in and out in 45 minutes and be satisfied with a fresh, healthy sandwich, soup or salad.
But if you want to visit the restaurant on the weekend, be sure to make a reservation, or you might be out of luck; Hayloft’s commitment to a fine-dining experience means the restaurant is often filled to capacity.
Join the assembly line
Busy Airdrie families have a new way of dealing with dinner. Social Supper, open since December 2016, saves customers loads of time by doing all the advance work necessary for a healthy family meal. Shopping, food prep and cleanup is all taken care of – clients just assemble their nutritious meals onsite, then take them home to cook and enjoy.
Social Supper is located on Kingsview Boulevard and the menu – filled with fresh ingredients that are often locally sourced – changes frequently.
Kaidy Morgan, the store’s owner, has created a clean, trendy atmosphere and is one of the friendliest, hardest-working entrepreneurs out there. She is even offering workshops, such as kombucha brewing, and caters to groups both large and small. If you want a healthy, convenient alternative to fast food, that you can still customize to suit your family’s tastes, check out Social Supper.
Even if you visit Sorso often to grab a cup of some of Airdrie’s best coffee, loose-leaf tea and mind-blowingly awesome in-house-made desserts and baked treats, you may not be aware of what else the restaurant has to offer. Not only does Sorso serve killer breakfast and lunch sandwiches made with locally sourced meat and free-range eggs; it also has an extensive dinner menu featuring numerous shareable plates.
Those appys go great with the on-tap beer, wines (selected by Sorso owner Dmitri Martini in conjunction with a sommelier) and unique cocktails – running the gamut from a classic paralyzer to the ginboucha, which combines premium gin with locally made kombucha. Pairing the tasty drinks and fine eats prepared by Red Seal chef Jacob Starker with the inviting, eclectic atmosphere at Sorso makes the restaurant a no-brainer for a casual night out with friends.
“It’s breaking the stereotype of what a coffee house is,” says Martini. “The idea is that I want to eat and drink here. It’s kind of my clubhouse.”
Airdrians now have access to a huge variety of craft beer, thanks to Thumbprint Craft Beer Market. Located on MacKenzie Way, the boutique beer store has about 400 varieties of beer, from IPAs to stouts, all sourced from small breweries, many of which are situated in the region.
Kara and Dave Fulton, the owners, have created a unique store with a cool vibe, and are super friendly and knowledgeable about what they have to offer. In addition to the bottled beer, of which customers can purchase just singles to allow them to taste a variety before choosing a favourite, Thumbprint’s on-tap growler bar gives clients a chance to try beers they typically couldn’t sample without going to a brewery.
“We wanted to bring the brewery to the customer,” says Kara, noting Thumbprint is focused on sourcing hard-to-find beers. The couple is also looking to work with local breweries, such as the Calgary-based Dandy Brewing Company (which has a local connection in Matt Gaetz, one of the partners in the microbrewery). The Fultons feel when it comes to beer, local is often best.
Growing the palate
Casual fine dining at The Woods Restaurant & Patioh! at Woodside Golf Course is getting even better this season. Chef Li Luo and Jaimie Dachy, food and beverage director at the popular restaurant, have been inspired by the flavours of fresh herbs and artisan greens and are creating space at Woodside to grow their own. “I am a huge gardener … and I wanted to bring that freshness,” says Dachy. “And Chef is really excited about it.”
Diners can enjoy the restaurant’s fresh food, including homemade sauces and desserts, on Airdrie’s best patio as early as April. “We are lucky to say our patio backs onto greenspace,” says Dachy, noting heaters and outdoor fireplaces help extend the patio season. A haven for corporate and business clients, local events and golfers, The Woods offers daily specials, while focusing on beautiful presentations and outstanding service, to keep returning customers satisfied.