Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Moneris and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
Let me tell you about 10 Street NW in Kensington. This street was where—when wandering around with my massive belly, my then two-and-a-half-year-old son and my newly Alberta-employed husband—we realized we were in the right city. Kensington reminded us of our favourite Montreal neighbourhood: Mont Royal.
Kensington hosts an annual Harry Potter-day, when the entire neighbourhood is transformed into Diagon Alley, with the C-Train stop labelled Platform 9¾. (As of last year, the day became a more broader-themed Fantasy Faire.) Kensington is also home to a cat café, with cats from the rescue organization we get our foster cats from. So if you are a regular blog reader or follow me on social media, you’ll understand why I feel at home here.
Sometimes I connect with my friends over food by “doing laundry” in the basement with my phone out and a bag of chips. Other times we connect while our children shove plastic plates stacked with toy food into our hands. And on rare, glorious occasions, I get to sit across a table from a friend and share delicious eats with her while being waited upon by friendly adults who serve us exactly what we’ve ordered rather than a plastic hot dog with teeth marks in it. Also, these friendly adults bring alcohol and don’t make us share with them.
On a ridiculously cold Sunday evening, unencumbered by food-stealing progeny, my friend Rosey and I arrived at Midtown Kitchen & Bar, directly across from the aforementioned café where you pet (not eat) cats.
Midtown Kitchen & Bar is a casual, friendly eatery where we felt immediately welcome and comfortable in our window seat, drinks in hand, with a great view of some sports thing where the singer from Maroon 5 took off his shirt and celebrities were in commercials. Because we were there to catch up with each other, I was happy to note that the television volume did not impede conversation. (And I have now officially outed myself as geriatric.)
Midtown boasts an extensive menu of local craft beers that I am sure are amazing, but I preferred sipping on my sangria, because I like my booze to taste like juice. (And Midtown uses fresh juices and syrups for all their cocktails!)
Though not the destination for a vegan, a lacto-ovo-pescatarian like myself was right at home with the variety on the menu, selecting fries, tomato soup and mussels for my main course. As the more traditional Alberta carnivore at the table, Rosey went with the Midtown Burger, which apparently has a reputation since her husband texted her to tell her to order it!
We started our feast with the Blanco pizza to share. All I can say about that pizza is that I wish I hadn’t ordered it as something to share … I wanted to eat it all. The blend of Alberta cheese topped with crispy, locally grown sprouts was nothing short of divine. It was one of those dishes that you bite into, groan with pleasure, then put your hand over your mouth so as not to be rude to say, before swallowing, “This is REALLY good.” (Somehow this is less effective if you say this after you swallow.)
For a rare and much-deserved #momdate, it’s the little details that have me choosing a local restaurant over a chain: the locally-grown microgreens, the tea and coffee from just down the street, the tomatoes from prairie greenhouses and the staff that treats you like old friends. Midtown Kitchen takes its local sourcing seriously, and in Alberta that’s not always easy for a lot of key ingredients. Aside from beef—we’ve got down pat(ty)! During our short but very sunny Calgary growing season, Midtown Kitchen even sources a lot of their produce from YYC Growers’ urban farmers!
I’ve been hearing lately that Calgary small businesses haven’t been this pessimistic in years, and talk of the economic downturn began about the time we arrived in the city. (Please don’t blame us!) But if what we’ve experienced so far is what local businesses in this city can do in a slump, I can’t wait to see what it’s like during boom times.
When I get the chance to hit the town with a friend, we might not paint it red (or even stay out past 7 p.m.), but we do make it count. As a small business owner myself, I want to support my local counterparts with my patronage, and since day-to-day #momlife means a lot of time spent at multinationals that have drive-thrus (I’m not naming names!), spending time in a locally owned restaurant with locally sourced ingredients is a must.
Moneris helps small businesses like Midtown Kitchen & Bar spend more time with their customers and less time handling transactions. Our server was a veritable stand-up comedian, asking us what our plans were for the rest of the night as she handed me the payment terminal. (Maybe she didn’t mean it as a joke?!)
If you’re in Calgary, check out Midtown Kitchen & Bar in Kensington for your next date with your life partner, your BFF, or even solo (sit at their hip bar and make a new friend!). No matter where you are or what kind of small business you run, Moneris is the payment solution for smooth card transactions.
Where do you go to eat when you want to support local?