Did you know that the Calgary +15 network is made up of 59 small bridges and spans over 16 kilometres of passageways around the city’s downtown core? That may sound like a ridiculously elaborate indoor walking system, but when it’s cold and blustery out it’s a boon to be able to get about Calgary’s core without going outside.
There is no shortage of spots to grab eats and drinks throughout the interconnected buildings, but here are few that stand out.
For whatever reason, there are still very few gourmet sandwich shops in this city, so thank god for Butcher and the Baker. Located in the Bow Valley Square building, this fast-casual spot serves up everything from delicious breakfast brioche sandwiches filled with egg, pickled onions, aioli and cheddar (for only $5) to baguette sandwiches filled with things like house-cured pork belly, jerk-spiced pulled chicken and more. Don’t forget to grab a freshly baked cookie for dessert.
On the plus 15 level that connects TD Square and Bankers Hall you’ll find dirtbelly, a chef-driven salad bar concept that offers all sorts of freshly prepared salads, health-minded sandwiches, cold-pressed juices, granola and yogurt breakfast bowls and more. The line-ups can be quite substantial during peak lunchtime, so come early (or late) if you can.
The Vancouver-based chain’s new pilot contemporary dining concept is attached to Bankers Hall. The menu still features Earls’ classics like Hunan Kung Pao or its famous burger, but aims to get more creative, offering other dishes like charcoal-grilled skewers, soy-glazed eggplant pressed sushi and mini house-made ice cream bars, to name a few. Find it full of well-dressed business folks enjoying aprs work drinks come 4 p.m. during the week.
Skip the Timbits and seek out Calgary’s top gourmet doughnut shop in the Suncor building on 5th Avenue and 1st Street S.W. Stock up on big, fluffy doughnuts topped with sweet and salty bacon or peanut butter and chocolate. And don’t forget to grab at least one of the jelly-filled variety. Let your coworkers can fight over that one.
The downtown Marriott’s restaurant does a great job of brown liquor cocktails and meaty plates of food. If you’re up for a challenge, come by for lunch, grab seats at the bar and try the 1800 Burger Deal. Order, eat the big, beautiful house-ground burger and pay in 1800 seconds (i.e. 30 minutes) and get it for $10 instead of $20. Who doesn’t like a bargain?
For some of the best locally roasted coffee in Calgary’s downtown, head over to Rosso’s location at the base of the Calgary Convention Centre. There are plenty of fresh baked goods to pick up in the morning, most notably the herb biscuit breakfast sandwiches. Tasty and easy to eat as you wind your way through the +15s.