Two men in Calgary are on the verge of opening a Halifax-themed restaurant.
Josh Robinson, one of the owners, grew up in Halifax. After moving to Calgary four years ago, he says he “missed all of the food that you get back home — from garlic fingers to donairs.”
The restaurant is called Blowers & Grafton and is named after the Halifax intersection known as Pizza Corner. Robinson says the spot is iconic for Halifax food.
“The food we find on Pizza Corner isn’t only available on Pizza Corner, but it does all congregate there,” he says.
Samim Aminzadah, the other owner, is a Calgary native. He claims he was sold on the idea by Robinson’s cooking.
“He would make things like garlic fingers,” says Aminzadah. “I remember having that for the first time and going, ‘Oh my god, this is amazing.'”
While not the first restaurant in Alberta to sell things like donairs, Blowers & Grafton is planning to capitalize fully on the Atlantic culture associated with the food.
“We do have donairs here,” Aminzadah say. “But they were nowhere near as good as what Josh was cooking.”
A major reason for the creation of Blowers & Grafton is to try and create what Robinson refers to as a “geographically influenced restaurant.”
“Think about how many restaurants there are that are from Texas or New York or Boston or Louisiana,” Robinson says, citing regional cuisines from America. “There’s a lack of geographically influenced restaurants that come from within Canada.”
The two men met while working for an oil and gas company.
“Both of us come from an entrepreneurship background in the food industry, so we would always talk about food,” says Aminzadah. “We were just talking about this all the time, and how cool it would be if there was something like this.”
Robinson finds the overall response has been quite positive, saying that many Atlantic Canadians living in Calgary miss the food, and are looking forward to the restaurant’s opening.
“You meet Nova Scotians all the time out here and everybody misses certain things,” he says.
Mentioning their recent appearance on Halifax ReTales, a website dedicated to tracking Halifax businesses, Robinson was particularly pleased with the social media response.
“It’s the best thing we could ask for, as restaurant owners, that people are excited about it. As excited as we are,” he says.
The restaurant has no opening date yet, but they have recently put up their sign.