Usually, I’d rather crawl over broken glass than wait in line at a restaurant. My line-busting strategy includes showing up when the place opens, arriving at the end of a meal cycle (such as 2 pm for lunch) and never going for weekend brunch.
But as Covid restrictions reach their meaningful end, it’s kinda nice to see folks at 11:30 am lining up for lunch at Calgary’s beloved Jimmy’s A&A Mediterranean Deli. It’s a testament to the loyal following for the colourful Jimmy and his giant, excellent shawarmas. “It’s the bomb,” says a waiting fire fighter.
Not much has changed over the years, other than metal siding replacing the stucco of this former corner store. The long, darkened interior is still jammed full of Middle Eastern foodstuffs, more than most delis. Jimmy’s is also still primarily a takeout place, with most folks ignoring the smattering of plastic tables and chairs on the sidewalk.
Like most restaurants post pandemic, prices have gone up. But when my “medium” chicken shawarma tips the scales at a kilo, the $14.75 charge still offers great value, especially when this food bomb essentially feeds two. But of course, I’ve devoured the whole thing within minutes of getting back in my car.
Jimmy’s remains one of the best and most colourful cheap-eats experiences in Calgary.
Jimmy’s A&A Mediterranean Deli
1401 20 Avenue NW and one other Calgary location
Monday to Saturday 10 am-10 pm, Sunday 10 am-8 pm