Soaring mountains, quiet wilderness and quaint historic towns await visitors of this natural paradise
It may be the dazzling scenery or four-season adventures that take centre stage in this southwest corner of Alberta, however, the make-you-feel-like-an-old-friend and made-in-house eateries and breweries will leave you eager to plan your next trip to this less-travelled Rocky Mountain playground.
Getting the day off to a good start
Walking into Chris’ Restaurant on a crisp March morning, the aroma of fresh coffee and the sound of laughter fill the air. The red-topped stools awaken delicious, and decades-old memories of homemade treats from my own small town upbringing. ‘Friendly faces and good food’ announces the outdoor sign, and the restaurant delivers exactly that. Expecting my fruit bowl to come out of a can, the freshly cut pineapple with blueberries and strawberries leave me pleasantly surprised. The French toast is perfectly cooked, as if my grandma had made it herself.
Organic foods, free trade coffee and ingredients from around the world make an eclectic mix at the Crowsnest Café and Fly Shop. Whether eating in or taking it to-go on your adventure, the breakfast bagels, wraps, paninis and sandwiches will fill you for the day. Gluten-free options are also available.
Midday fill ups
“You have to stop for a cinnamon bun!” The Cinnamon Bear Café knows how to achieve gooey goodness, and comes highly recommended by regular travellers and locals alike. Made-to-order sandwiches, lattes and other fresh baking are available.
Proudly supporting local ranchers and farmers, Bear Grass Bistro is known as the place ‘where friends come to meet.’ Serving breakfast and lunch, this restaurant within Ranchlands Mall welcomes visitors Monday to Friday.
Time for a beverage
The Rocky Mountain views from the deck of The Pass Beer Company alone would be enough to bring patrons back time and again. With the outdoor tables covered in snow, we enjoy the small batch craft beer in their bright taproom and kitchen. The wood fire pizza oven delivers the tastiest pizza we’ve tasted since our trip to Italy. A kids menu and dog friendly patio make this an ideal family stop
Oldman River Brewing Company also offers a family friendly taproom and dog friendly patio. Located in the hamlet of Lundbreck, their menu offers classic-style pub food that will pair perfectly with your favourite pint. A perfect rest stop after taking in the wonder of the nearby Lundbreck Falls.
Dreaming of an open kitchen and cozy eatery, the owners of Encounters Wine Bar & Small Plate Kitchen certainly brought their idea to life. Menu choices such as Smoked Beef Carpaccio and Crab Cakes with Remoulade give a big city feel without the matching prices. Offering take out, we book a Charcuterie Board and Dark Chocolate Fondue in advance for our post-snowshoe adventure.
The Rum Runner saloon atmosphere carries the historic theme of the prohibition period. With a seniors and gluten-free menu, the eatery is family-friendly. Their legendary burgers made from 100% Canadian beef come in one size only: huge and half-pound. Pets are welcome on the patio.
Story by Sue Slaght. 2023