Tag Archives: high river alberta

High River Cafes Fully Back in Business

Evelyn’s Memory Lane Cafe is a busy High River diner

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.

How’s this for a loaded roast chicken sandwich?

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.

Colossi’s Coffee House next door

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.

The historic Whistle Stop Diner

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
403-652-1887

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
403-652-2181

High River Can’t Keep These Restaurants From Rolling On

Evelyn's Memory Lane packs in the locals to this 1950s'-style diner in High River

Evelyn’s Memory Lane packs in the locals to this 1950s’-style diner in High River

High River has more historic character in its compact, brick-building downtown than most southern Alberta towns. Which only compounds the tragedy of all the residents and business owners who were hammered by the June 2013 floods from the raging Highwood River. Half a year later, several downtown restaurants and coffee houses still hadn’t reopened when I visited.

One place that has is Evelyn’s Memory Lane, a ‘50s-style diner that has long been a gathering lunch spot for locals and day-tripping Calgarians. In keeping with the historic theme, there’s old-fashioned sundaes, thick berry and cream pies and banana splits (when did you last see one of those?). The signature roast chicken sandwich is excellent, full of moist chunks of chicken and cranberry sauce. It’s almost Christmas dinner between two thick slices of house-made multigrain bread. Evelyn’s keeps serving up comfort food when High River really needs it.

Evelyn's classic roast chicken sandwich on house-made multigrain bread

Evelyn’s classic roast chicken sandwich on house-made multigrain bread

Evelyn’s Memory Lane
118 4 Avenue SW, High River, Alberta
Weekdays 9 am-5 pm, Saturday 11 am-5 pm. Closed Sunday
Evelyn's Memory Lane Cafe on Urbanspoon

Walking down the narrow hallway to the Whistle Stop Cafe‘s bathroom, I can’t help but anticipate the swaying of a moving train. That’s because the Whistlestop is in a historic railway dining car in High River. It’s the perfect place to look out the window at the sandstone Museum of the Highwood while enjoying a hearty all-day breakfast, a clubhouse sandwich or a chicken-mango quesadilla, while sipping loose-leaf tea from a French-press pot.

The Whistle Stop Cafe serves breakfast and lunch in this old rail car

The Whistle Stop Cafe serves breakfast and lunch in this old rail car

My daily soup is a flavourful bowl of chicken and black beans, accompanied by a thick slice of Donna’s sourdough multigrain bread. The Whistlestop was closed for three months after High River’s devastating June 2013 flood. But it’s nice to see it rolling once again.

Hearty chicken and black bean soup with sourdough bread

Hearty chicken and black bean soup with sourdough bread

Whistle Stop Cafe
406 1 Street SW, High River
Tuesday to Friday 11 am-4 pm, Saturday 10 am-4 pm Sunday 10 am-3 pm. Closed Monday
Whistlestop Cafe on Urbanspoon