Well, it was long since time I ventured out into the local restaurant scene mid-pandemic, other than to order a modicum of takeout. I still haven’t eaten inside the four walls of a restaurant but feel increasingly comfortable stepping onto an airy patio.
In truth, it all felt pretty normal sitting on a sunny, early-fall patio at Bitter Sisters Brewery, a fairly new craft brewery that recently reopened in southeast Calgary. Yes, there were the ubiquitous hand sanitizer bottles at the entrance, masked servers, regularly scrubbed tables and few indoor diners. But otherwise, it was business as usual on a spacious patio, with about 10 of 16 well-spaced tables occupied by folks enjoying the mid-day heat with some pints and bites.
The brewery nicely covers the craft basics: a handful of ales, a rotating sour and a potent, Belgian-yeast saison. Of course, I went for the Second Chance IPA.
But the real revelation was a diverse food menu ranging from a fried burrata starter to a Buddha Bowl salad to a Nashville fried chicken sandwich. Again, I stuck to the middle with an excellent, custom-blend beef burger with an onion ring tucked beneath the brioche bun and a mess of Kennebec fries. A three-napkin job, to be sure.
Here’s hoping the revived success at Bitter Sisters and other food and drink places in Calgary can be sustained during the long, upcoming winter, when most patios will undoubtedly be shuttered.
Have you started returning to restaurant patios or indoors? If so, any favourites you’re frequenting? Let me know.
510 Heritage Drive SE, Calgary
Opens daily at 11:30 am, except 3 pm Monday