It’s been a tough 19 months for the restaurant business, considering all the on-again and off-again clampdowns. It’s been a particularly rough time for ATCO’s Blue Flame Kitchen Café, one of my favourite places in Calgary to eat, with its spectacular architecture and good, inexpensive food.
It was completely shut down for a long stretch, in part because the immense dining hall was connected to ATCO’s office tower and all its employees. Later, it was takeout and meal kits only. Even when the café finally resumed in-house dining, the menu was slim and the prices well above what I consider to be cheap eats.
So, it was with great pleasure that I went back the other day, to discover a more diverse menu and bargain, quality lunch dishes. My substantial, two-meals-for-the-price-of-one flatbread special, featuring fresh mozzarella, was only $9, as was a 12-hour pulled pork Cubano sandwich. Several other honking sandwiches were $10.
The only thing different was the scanty crowd, about 25 diners, in this cavernous, high-ceiling space that can easily accommodate a few hundred. Maybe it was the vaccine passport requirement. Or maybe it’s just waiting to be rediscovered.
ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen Cafe
Commons Building, 5302 Forand Street SW, Calgary
Weekdays 8 am-2 pm. Closed weekends