• Eating Out, Restaurants Comments Off

    Bumper’s Beef House
    603 Banff Ave
    Banff AB
    Phone: 403 762 2622
    www.bumpersinn.com/beefhouse.htm

    After a day of basking in the fresh air of the Rocky Mountains, the body yearns to wind down with hearty food. We were drawn to try Bumper’s, which claims that “if you haven’t been to Bumper’s, you haven’t been to Banff”.

    Bumper’s is not one of the many restaurants in Banff’s downtown core. It’s a bit more hidden but still easy to find. If you follow Banff Avenue heading out of town, you’ll find Bumper’s on the left, just before you hit the woods. It’s basically the last building in town.

    Bumper’s Beef House has an airy, rustic atmosphere. The inside is furnished in wood, with a huge wooden man in the middle of the restaurant. As you can deduce from the name, Bumper’s serves everything you’d expect from a steakhouse, plus more. Most items on the Bumper’s menu include helping yourself to the all-you-can-eat salad bar. If you don’t want anything else, it’s even worth going just for the salad bar. The salad bar is one of the biggest and best I’ve ever seen. It’s a generous spread of vegetables, fruits, cheeses, legumes, dressings, soups, and fresh-baked dinner rolls.

    For dinner we ordered Pile-O-Bones and Bumper’s Super Burger, and both included the salad bar. It was fairly early (they open at 5 pm) and before the dinner rush, so our food arrived much faster than in the average steakhouse.

    The Pile-O-Bones, which are prime rib bones, were massive. The waitress had warned that they would be “chewy”. They did prove to be a workout for the jaw, but my friend gnawed happily on these flavorful beef ribs.

    I had the Bumper’s Super Burger, touted on the menu as “one of the burger wonders of the world”. It was far from being so! The bread looked black. I normally like bread well toasted, but in this case the bun was simply burnt. The waitress apologized and explained that the toaster was broken. That’s fine, but how did burnt bread escape the cook’s eyes? I was given a new bun, this one barely toasted, but anything was better than blackened. I could tell after digging in that the bread wasn’t fresh to begin with. I also got cheese on my burger after declining cheese when I placed my order. Overall the burger tasted okay but no more.

    Last thoughts: Bumper’s is a nice restaurant in Banff, farther away from the busier tourist hangouts yet still close enough to be a convenient option. Would I go back? Possibly, but if so I’m staying away from their “wonder” burger.

    Food ++Bumpers Beef House on Urbanspoon
    Service +++
    Ambiance ++++
    Washrooms ++++

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  • Eating Out, Fast Food Comments Off

    Boogie’s Burgers
    A-908 Edmonton Trail NE
    Calgary AB  T2E 3K1
    Phone: 403 230 7070
    www.boogiesburgers.com

    Boogie’s Burgers is one of those places in Calgary that serve good fast food without being a chain. Boogie’s dates back to 1969, when it was started by the guy who also started the famed Peter’s Drive-In.

    How do you get to Boogie’s? If you’re coming from Highway 1, just go down (south) on Edmonton Trail. Just after 9th Avenue, you’ll spot Boogie’s on the left in a tiny strip mall. If you’re craving a good burger on a Sunday, then you’re out of luck because they will be closed.

    The ambiance at Boogie’s hints at retro, with a bar and video-game tables. You can play an old-fashioned video game while chowing down. The music was loud but still acceptable to most of us.

    At Boogie’s you build a burger with the add-ons and toppings you love. If you want 4 patties, then go for it, and if you like pineapple or banana peppers, by all means add them.

    So you can get a plain burger (the one I like), or you can make something really special. If inspiration is lacking, you can select one that someone else has built (and named after the creator) before you.

    Don’t feel like meat? You don’t have to miss out – Boogie’s also has a Veggie Patty.

    Aside from burgers, the menu offers hot dogs or chicken sandwiches.

    For the side, choose from Fries, Spicy Fries, Onion Rings, or Yam Fries (which look more like chips).

    And how does everything taste? The burgers are so good that you never want to finish or leave, and the Yam Fries are the perfect side. You will leave Boogie’s with a satisfied feeling that you’ll never get from a fast-food chain.

    Last thoughts: The question is not if I will go back, but when. Cool ambiance, tasty food. The service could be better, but they are busy. Don’t waste your money on fast food from a big chain when Calgary has Boogie’s.

    Food ++++Boogie's Burgers on Urbanspoon
    Service +++
    Ambiance ++++
    Washrooms +++

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  • Eating Out, Fast Food Comments Off

    CB Hamburger Inn
    789 Northmount Dr NW
    Calgary AB  T2L 0A1
    Phone: 403 282 8188

    CB Hamburger Inn is a Calgary institution, so on one of the first good days of spring I decided to give it a try.

    CB Hamburger Inn is right on Northmount Drive, just north of 14th Street, in a spacious and eye-catching structure. I have no more to say about the ambiance because it’s not an indoor sit-down restaurant. Instead, there are picnic benches under the big roof and on the edge of the parking lot.

    You order inside, which is reminiscent of a gas station mini-mart. I was there on a Monday night 20 minutes before closing (they close at 7 pm on Mondays), and the man who helped me was curt and unwelcoming.

    I ordered a Centenniel (triple) burger, fries, and zucchini sticks. My order was screamed to the other staffers, who started preparing the food. I decided to pay by debit card since there was an Interac sign, but it didn”t say anywhere that I would be charged $0.25 extra for doing so. I really didn’t care, but they should have posted a sign notifying customers of the additional charge for debit payments.

    My food was handed over in a brown paper bag, and out I went to enjoy it at one of the picnic tables. As soon as I left, the staff locked up and left for the day.

    Upon unwrapping my Centenniel burger – which should come with 3 patties – I discovered a big mistake. My burger had only one patty and a piece of bacon. They had given me the wrong burger. I was stuck with it, of course, seeing as CB Hamburger Inn had closed up.

    My burger (which I didn’t order) was nothing special. It tasted like frozen processed meat from the supermarket. CB supposedly has some of the best fries in Calgary. My fries were good, thanks mostly to the seasoning. The zucchini sticks were also good – I wish you could find them at more places in Calgary.

    I tried to figure out what they gave me instead of the Centenniel burger by recalculating my Interac receipt. They charged me something, but going by the prices on the menu I still can’t recreate the amount I paid.

    Last thoughts: CB Hamburger Inn should be a Calgary institution that you can’t live without. For me, it is not, and it never will be. After this experience I’m staying away from this place. And do check your bill when you go to CB!

    Food +++C B Drive Inn on Urbanspoon
    Service ++
    Ambiance +++
    Washrooms n/a

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  • Inglewood Drive Inn
    802 12 St NE
    Calgary AB  T2G 3H5
    Phone: 403 265 5198

    The Inglewood Drive Inn had first caught my eye while I was shopping in this Calgary neighborhood last summer. It’s housed in a humble shack on 12th Street SE, the street that takes you from the Calgary Zoo to the Inglewood area.

    Both outside and inside, this restaurant could use some updating. It looks old and shabby. The washrooms, though clean, literally have paint peeling off the walls. Overall, the Inglewood Drive Inn feels plain and devoid of ambiance. It does have a good amount of seating.

    Our server was friendly and gave us time to mull over the menu board above the counter. There’s an extensive selection of sandwiches, burgers, sides, shakes, breakfasts, and dinners, so making up your mind can be a challenge.

    After ordering you pay at the counter, and this place only takes cash or debit (no credit cards). The food was brought out in about 10 minutes. It was all served on Styrofoam plates, to my chagrin. Paper is okay, but Styrofoam is terrible. I don’t see why the food can’t be served on reusable (not disposable) dishes for customers dining in. It would be much better for the planet and probably cheaper in the long run.

    The food was good. My double cheeseburger (only $2.82) was big. The patty was processed rather than homemade, but it was still tasty. My maple milkshake was quite delicious – I would go back for that. My friend got a salmon salad sandwich that she wouldn’t recommend. Think chicken salad but made with canned salmon, which she has made herself with better success than the Inglewood Drive Inn. She should probably have ordered the fish burger instead.

    Last thoughts: The Inglewood Drive Inn could get a repeat visit from me, primarily for the milkshakes. The food is good but not “wow”. The place could use some sprucing up and the heater could be set a couple of degrees warmer. If you’re planning to go, note that they are closed on Sundays and only open until 6:30 pm Monday to Saturday.

    Food +++Inglewood Drive in on Urbanspoon
    Service ++++
    Ambiance ++
    Washrooms +++

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  • Marv’s Classic Soda Shop
    121 Centre Ave W (see map)
    Black Diamond AB  T0L 0H0
    Phone: 403 933 7001
    www.marvsclassics.ca

    Hungry for food but hankering for something one-of-a-kind? Then Marv’s is the answer. Marv’s is an authentic-looking 1950s soda shop in the small community of Black Diamond, just 25 minutes southwest of Calgary, which makes it the perfect stop on a mini road trip.

    Finding Marv’s in Black Diamond is not difficult – it’s right on the main road going through Black Diamond and across the street from the Pharmasave.

    As soon as you enter Marv’s you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time. You’ll see a long soda counter with several stools, a big selection of classic candies and retro memorabilia in the store section, and bubble-gum-pink booths in the back inviting you to sit down for Marv’s classic diner fare. Don’t forget to bring quarters: every booth has its own mini jukebox.

    The servers are uniformed in matching pink shirtdresses. In keeping with the decor and ambiance, our servers were youthful and cheerful. The service was great and fast, even on the busy day.

    Marv’s has a great selection of unique burgers, especially its famous Peanut Butter burgers.

    We opted for the Bopper Whopper, which has two patties. Order this one judiciously, because the patties were huge. We also got the McGoo Burger, described on the menu as Marv’s best Peanut Butter burger. (Marv’s also has The Elvis, which has peanut butter and banana.) The burgers come solo. If you want fries you have to order the Deluxe. Luckily the prices are pretty good, so go ahead and splurge on tasty fries as a nice addition to the meal.

    Taste-wise you can’t go wrong at Marv’s. The patties were nice and juicy and tasted perfect. But be careful: once you’ve eaten at Marv’s you’ll want to keep going back!

    Last thoughts: Marv’s is one of those places that make going for a drive on a nice day worthwhile. It’s unlike anything else out there. You haven’t seen the 50s until you’ve been to Marv’s Classic Soda Shop. I can’t wait to go back to try more of their menu.

    Food +++++Marv's Classic Soda Shop on Urbanspoon
    Service +++++
    Ambiance +++++
    Washrooms +++++

    Find Marv’s Classic Soda Shop on the map.

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