Friday, January 28, 2011


The building is the monolith from 2001 A Space Odyssey, except that it’s got a little door that opens and burgers come out. Queue members, still tweeting, wave five-dollar bills at them. One knob waves a twenty. We elbow ahead of him.

Two clearly concerned security guards from the office building across the alley have words with management by the valet parking sandwich board. Still the burgers come. Until they don’t.

But, emerging from the billows of a sweet meat-smoke cloud, we’ve got ours. So long suckas! On a Stephen Avenue bench, we unwrap two $5 alley burgers served at 10 p.m. from the back door of Charcut Roast House, one of the city’s buzz-worthiest new eateries.

The meaty, moist burgers are a fine-grind of pork and lamb. Light on sauce, they’re topped with mozzarella. The wee burger baggies are decorated with a dancing piggy and also contain hearty pickle slices. Soft, circular white buns remind me of the Holy Smoke Barbeque and Smokepit’s sog-resistant potato buns.

Previous alley burger nights suffered from Siberia-like weather conditions, but this was a warm one, and more people showed than burgers were grilled. One lucky guy received, at random, a one-pound burger.

Importantly, this food happening went down in a downtown Calgary back lane on a weeknight. “It’s like street food,” suggests Arif. I can’t recall a comparable occasion, and we certainly haven't got comparable street food in this town (there’s a hotdog cart outside old City Hall). So this was a banner night.

101 899 Centre Street SW

Ian Doig.
(Photos: Arif Ansari)
Ian Doig Web Developer