I’d like to describe what it’s like inside Alumni Sandwiches restaurant in central Calgary. I’d like to tell you about the design, the layout and ambience of the place.
But I can’t. That’s because since reopening, from a pandemic closure, in early May, Alumni has only been offering curbside pickup of its fabulous sandwiches.
In other words, you place your order online, by phone or on the sidewalk. When it’s ready, the restaurant door opens and a masked person hands you a little cardboard box or two bearing your sweet treasure.
A bit impersonal, but it’s the food that counts. In my case, that’s Alumni’s famous hot chicken sandwich ($13), the best I’ve yet had in Calgary. It’s a generous amount of crispy, spicy chicken (half heat still had my forehead perspiring) with slaw, “comeback” sauce and pickles, all stuffed inside a brioche bun.
I was lucky to grab a curbside parking spot right in front of the restaurant on busy 17th Avenue S.W. And I wasn’t about to drive home or to a nearby park to devour this puppy.
A hot sandwich is meant to be eaten hot. So it was inhaled, in situ, at the curb, with a single napkin scarcely sufficient for mopping up all the juiciness.
Alumni is about a 15- or 20-minute drive for me, depending on traffic. So I won’t be sampling the rest of the menu—including a rosemary beef dip and a Mexican torta—any time soon.
My masked server talked about tentative plans to reopen the restaurant to indoor customers sometime in October. But with the curbside pickup working so well—half a dozen customers lined up in the few minutes I was eating—there may well be no rush.
725 17 Avenue SW, Calgary
Daily 11 am-9 pm except 6 pm closure Sunday