Chophouse’s re­lo­ca­tion a nod to build­ing’s her­itage

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - JOHN GILCHRIST JOHN GILCHRIST’S RES­TAU­RANT GUIDE TO CAL­GARY, CAN­MORE AND BE­YOND IS AVAIL­ABLE IN BOOK­STORES AND SPE­CIALTY FOOD SHOPS. HE CAN BE REACHED AT [email protected] OR 403-235-7532 OR FOL­LOW HIM ON TWIT­TER AT @GILCHRISTJ­OHN

The cen­tury-old Burns Build­ing is one of Cal­gary’s most el­e­gant historic struc­tures. Clad in glazed ce­ramic and built in the Chicago style of ar­chi­tec­ture pop­u­lar in the early 20th cen­tury, it was a trib­ute to the suc­cess of Pa­trick Burns. Ar­riv­ing in Cal­gary in 1890 from Man­i­toba, Burns quickly be­came a mag­nate of ranch­ing, meat pack­ing, and re­tail­ing, one of the rich­est peo­ple in the city and a mem­ber of the Big Four.

Burns’ of­fice tower thrived for years but was al­most de­mol­ished in 1980 to make way for the Cal­gary Cen­tre for Per­form­ing Arts (now the Ep­cor Cen­tre). Since then, its main floor has seen a num­ber of busi­nesses — mostly restau­rants — come and go. As a lo­ca­tion, it’s a chal­lenge. It’s a touch too far from the busi­ness core of the city; the main mar­ket is City Hall with staffers who typ­i­cally have tighter ex­pense ac­counts than their busi­ness co­horts. And in the evening, it needs to meet the de­mands of the the­atres sur­round­ing it. So what will work there? It seems log­i­cal that a beefy steak house might work in Burns’ old of­fice and mar­ket. And when the Chicago Chophouse had to move from its old lo­ca­tion on the cor­ner of 5th Street and 8th Av­enue S.W. due to de­mo­li­tion, own­ers Adam Dalsin and Vic­to­ria Har­ris thought so too. So they packed up the res­tau­rant, lock, stock and bull sculp­ture and headed east to 237 — 8 Av­enue S.E. (403-265-3000).

Dalsin and Har­ris ren­o­vated the bright, high-ceilinged space, re-do­ing it in sleek black and white. Cham­pagne-toned booths line the east wall and a tall-ta­ble area by the bar de­notes the lounge. A wine room at the back seats up to 55 and a small deli at the front an­swers the fast sand­wich-and-cof­fee needs of Olympic Plaza vis­i­tors and cus­tomers on the run. The huge bull sculp­ture hangs over the en­trance and a large (Sty­ro­foam) pump­jack sits be­side the deli.

Since the move, Har­ris and Dalsin have brought chef de cui­sine Chris Lorenz over from Char­cut to run their kitchen. Su­per­vis­ing the food side of things at the Chophouse as well as at Har­ris’s and Dalsin’s soon-toopen Star­belly is chef JP Ped­hir­ney, re­cently of Muse.

The chefs use the all-nat­u­ral, well-aged Her­itage An­gus beef and Brant Lake Wagyu beef pro­vided by Com­mu­nity Foods. They round out the menu with Driv­iew lamb and Maple Hill chicken, and chef Lorenz prom­ises to in­crease the Chophouse’s in­ven­tory of house-made char­cu­terie.

The Chophouse has also part- nered with the CPO to cre­ate pre-con­cert op­tions and spe­cial tast­ing events for ticket hold­ers. That will be a wel­come ad­di­tion to con­cert­go­ers look­ing for a quick bite be­fore the show and a great fit for the re­freshed Burns Build­ing.

It’s a bit out of my usual range but I’ve been im­pressed lately with Stock­men’s Chophouse in Cam­rose (6404 — 48 Av­enue, 780-672-7872). (My par­ents are in long-term care in the Rose city so I make reg­u­lar trips up there.) Cam­rose’s dining scene has been a bit mun­dane but the open­ing of Stock­men’s a few months ago has raised the bar im­mensely.

Stock­men’s is owned by NAIT grad Jesse Cham­bers and ser­vice pro­fes­sional Jennifer Routhier who met while work­ing at North- ern Bear Golf Club near Ed­mon­ton a few years ago. To­gether they’ve de­vel­oped a con­cept they call “a rare place to meat” and are serv­ing some very good food.

The room is ca­sual, dec­o­rated in meaty, dark browns with a num­ber of booths and ban­quettes. A big semi-open kitchen oc­cu­pies one area where the chefs grill 28-day aged, Cer­ti­fied An­gus Beef over su­per-hot hick­ory.

Cham­bers grinds brisket in­house for burg­ers so he can of­fer them cooked to the tem­per­a­ture you like and he’s paired a solid wine list to go with the food.

The kitchen shows a great deal of so­phis­ti­ca­tion; the fresh tomato-fen­nel soup is not over­pow­ered by the fen­nel, the ribs are se­ri­ously good and saucy and the dessert list has seven items, only one of which is choco­late. It’s nice to see this cre­ativ­ity.

So Stock­men’s Chophouse is worth a visit if you’re in the Cam­rose area.

Pho­tos: Jenn Pierce/Cal­gary Her­ald

Chicago Chophouse own­ers, Adam Dalsin and Vic­to­ria Har­ris have ren­o­vated their new down­town lo­ca­tion in sleek black and white, with cham­pagne-toned booths.

Chef de cui­sine Chris Lorenz runs the kitchen at Chicago Chophouse.

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