Other than Fort McMurray and its devastating wildfires, it’s hard to think of an Alberta community that’s suffered more over the past decade than High River.
First, there were the devastating floods of 2013, which for weeks swamped the aptly named town of 14,000, a 40-minute drive south of Calgary. Then the pandemic hit, with the Cargill meat-packing plant, on the town’s doorstep, recording 950 Covid cases, the worst outbreak in Canada.
So it was nice to recently visit High River and see a bustling downtown, with lunchtime lineups at a couple of landmark cafes.
Evelyn’s Memory Lane Café is a hopping 1950s-style diner, complete with swiveling stools and a menu that features thick sandwiches, interesting salads, house-made ice cream and deep-dish pies.
I went for an Evelyn’s classic, a roasted Hutterite chicken sandwich with cranberries and mayo on house-made bread. It’s an outstanding meal—they certainly don’t skimp on the chicken—which at $8 would rival any of my Calgary cheap-eats sandwiches. For another $6, I could have added a generous broccoli or beet salad, but the sandwich alone was certainly a sufficient lunch.
Next door, the graffiti-clad Colossi’s Coffee House was serving good hot beverages along with paninis, loaded bagels and baked treats. Not far away, the Whistle Stop Diner offers a unique dining experience: lunch in a historic, refurbished rail car.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t open this day. But it was great to see so many long-time High River restaurants (including the Hitchin Post Drive In) still chugging along.
Evelyn’s Memory Lane Cafe
118 4 Avenue SW, High River, Alberta
Weekdays 10 am-3 pm, Saturday 11 am-3 pm. Closed SundayH
Colossi’s Coffee House
114 4 Avenue SW, High River
Weekdays 7 am-6 pm, Saturday 8 am-5 pm, Sunday 9 am-5 pm