Tag Archives: Red Deer restaurants

Gasoline Alley Farmer’s Market Adds Pizzaz to Red Deer Food Scene

The new Gasoline Alley Farmers’ Market in Red Deer

In the four decades I’ve been driving between Calgary and Edmonton, there’s been little incentive to pull over in Red Deer for a coffee or a bite to eat. That’s because the choices have been uninspired, to say the least, both along Highway 2’s Gasoline Alley and within the city. You know it’s a bad sign when the nearby community of Lacombe (population 14,000) has better cheap-eat options than a city of 100,000.

But maybe things are looking up. The Gasoline Alley Farmers’ Market recently opened, boasting more than 50 vendors. And there’s enough going on here to make me figure out the rather circuitous approach for drivers heading north along said Highway 2.

It’s an indoor market, kind of a mini Calgary Farmers’ Market in appearance, albeit with smaller crowds to date. It shares at least a couple of things with its more famous southern counterpart: fabulous Beck’s carrots (Innisfail Growers) and Luc’s fine cheeses.

Oishidesu Ramen Shack is one of 50-plus vendors in the market

But it’s the local food and drink vendors I’m interested in, and there’s a number that grab my attention. In the Market Kitchen, at the building’s north end, is a wall of beer taps, mainly showcasing a collective of central Alberta craft breweries, under the name Craft Beer Commonwealth. Indeed, it’s the only farmers’ market in Alberta with an in-house brewery and taproom.

A nitro cold brew on tap at Birdy Coffee

Sharing the space is Birdy Coffee Co., pulling shots from beans roasted in a wee machine around the corner. The bird illustrations on its bean packages are the most beautiful I’ve seen.

Divine coffee bean packages

In the two times I’ve stopped at the market, I’ve also sampled a nice focaccia at Dovganyuk’s organic bakery and dug into a delightful, bountiful sirloin burger and fries (a bargain $13) from Ponoka-based Longhorn Eatery.

Scrumptious burger and fries at Longhorn Eatery

Something tells me, I’ll be stopping in Red Deer more often in the future.

Gasoline Alley Farmers’ Market
558 Laura Avenue, Red Deer (I’d use Google maps to figure out directions; it’s a few blocks southwest of Costco)
Friday to Sunday 9 am-5 pm, Market Kitchen open every day except Monday

Pigging Out on an All-Meat Meal at Red Deer’s Red Boar Smokery

Red Boar Smokery is brining good barbecue to central Alberta beef country

Red Boar Smokery is brining good barbecue to central Alberta beef country

With all the starchy food I commonly devour on a road trip, I’ve been leaning towards a more slimming, low-carb diet when I can. So it’s a most pleasant surprise in the culinary wasteland of Red Deer, Alberta to discover a place that’s a) doing authentic barbecue and b) offering the option of going strictly carnivore.

To be sure, Red Boar Smokery features sandwiches and pig-out platters, both coming with at least two sides of such things as corn bread, baked beans, apple-ginger slaw and sriracha salad. But they also have a portion of their menu board devoted strictly to meat. These are quarter-pound orders of Piedmontese beef brisket, pulled pork, red boar sausage and candied pork belly, all for about $5 or less.

I go with the unadorned brisket, which is just a couple of naked slices of meat. But it allows me to concentrate, without embellished distraction, on a truly fine brisket with a lovely, charred smoke ring and a nice, fatty border. Good stuff.

Just give me the beef brisket, with no side-dish distractions

Just give me the beef brisket, with no side-dish distractions

The accompanying tomato sauce is flavourful and not cloyingly sweet like most barbecue offerings. Better yet, it’s served in a little side dish, so I can add it as I choose rather than have it slathered on before it leaves the kitchen.

Red Boar has only been open since last April, and there’s no doubt some barbecue educating to do here, even though it’s in the heart of Alberta’s beef country.

It’s just a few doors down from one of my only go-to places in Red Deer, City Roast Coffee, which pulls a fine Americano and offers bountiful salads and other hearty, healthy fare. In between, the Coconut Room features more upscale cappos, soups, salads and stews amidst a couple of art galleries in a renovated, historic building on downtown’s Ross Street.

Hopefully, this is all the start of some interesting, affordable dining in this Alberta cow town of 100,000 folks.

Red Boar Smokery
104, 4916 50 Street, Red Deer, Alberta
Monday to Thursday 8 am-midnight, Friday-Saturday 11 am-midnight, Sunday 11 am-3 pm