In small-town Alberta, it might be considered the kiss of death for an independent food joint to be located right next door to a Tim Hortons outlet. Yet in Claresholm—a town of less than 4,000 folks astride Highway 2 an hour south of Calgary—Meadow Creek Sausage & Meat is not just surviving, it’s intent on expanding.
“We’re a completely different market” from iconic Canadian juggernaut Tim’s, explains Meadow Creek owner Chantal Blokpoel. While the former is a national chain built on hyper efficiency, the latter is firmly focused on local and made to order, witness the little grill where all the meals are prepared.
At Meadow Creek, everything is built around the sausage and beef produced in the attached, federally inspected meat-producing/packaging facility, run by Chantal’s father, Peter. Indeed, the Texas Longhorn beef is from the family’s nearby ranch.
These ain’t your generic sausages. They’re produced with no antibiotics, no growth hormones, no nitrates, no fillers… nada. Just all-natural pork, spring water, sea salt and in-house spices.
You can buy these meats in Meadow Creek’s deli or at the Saturday Millarville Farmers Market, where they’re a big hit. Or you can sit yourself down at the 10-table restaurant and order, like I did, a fabulous whiskey garlic pork burger on a pretzel bun. Or Longhorn BBQ beef on a bun, with fried onions and melted Monterrey Jack.
With a couple of years under their belts, the Blokpoels are looking to expand into a full-scale restaurant, among other plans. In the meantime, it’s heartening to see folks with a vision and high standards pursue their dreams in small-town Alberta, where these days more independent places are closing than opening.
Meadow Creek Sausage & Meat
33 Alberta Road, Claresholm, Alberta
Monday to Saturday 8 am-5 pm. Closed Sunday