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Unique First-of-its-Kind Chef-Driven Food Hall Opens in Calgary’s Downtown Beltline: Photos/Interview

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A unique, first-of-its-kind chef-driven food hall is being launched in a Calgary office complex located in the Beltline, just outside the city’s downtown core.

The District at Beltline, which is about 5,600 square feet, will have six different eateries and seating for about 100 people. 

It is part of a larger-scale redevelopment project to revitalize the former IBM Corporate Park four-storey office building, located at 227 11th Avenue SW, off of 2nd Street SW. 

John Moss

“In mixed developments, main floor retail is typically established to amenitize the overarching development. In this case, we didn’t just look at our retail as a service to the surrounding office buildings but as a service to the whole community,” said John Moss, Senior Vice President at CBRE Limited, the leasing management group responsible for The District. 

“The District’s one-of-a-kind approach considers the office tenants but also brings a central community hub and entertainment district to the Beltline that will support both daytime and evening patronage.

“We talk about food courts, we talk about food halls but there’s never been an execution where you’ve had top-listed chefs ranked in Calgary or in Canada for that matter.”

Image: The District at Beltline

Moss said The District food hall has been designed as a culinary gathering place to facilitate memorable social experiences in a setting that invites guests to stay awhile and foster community connection. The interior look is defined by distinct wall paneling in rich navy tones and brightly-coloured abstract murals that create a seamless day-to-night atmosphere throughout the space. An ambiance of fun sophistication has also been carefully curated to cater to a variety of demographics while providing a chic and cohesive backdrop that highlights the chef-driven dining concepts.

The District will also include a boutique brewing concept and tasting room by 33 Acres Brewery, a new restaurant and bar from the founders of CRAFT Beer Market, a Mediterranean eatery from chef Kenny Kaechele, and a second concept from Adam Ryan – all of which are set to open in the coming months. Deville Coffee has also set up shop at The District, opening a new cafe adjacent to the food hall off of 12th Avenue SW.

The District building is owned by Spear Street Capital of San Francisco. 

“When you typically look at mixed-use development, especially in the downtown or Beltline area, the majority of the time the retail is more just an amenity for the office tenants,” said Moss. “That’s really what it is. But when I came in I said you have a rare opportunity to amenitize this for the community in addition to the office tenants because of its proximity to residential, proximity to downtown, proximity to office tenants in the Beltline.

Image: The District at Beltline

“I’ve worked on a lot of urban developments and I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to achieve here.”

Moss said the area around The District is also developing into a more entertainment hub and lifestyle centre in the area with additional establishments opening up.

More information can be found at https://thedistrictbeltline.com/.

The following six chef-driven concepts will operate at The District at Beltlinel:

  • Takori, Chef Duncan Ly. Takori is an Asian fusion taqueria serving Asian-inspired tacos and burritos and other fusion fare. Takori’s concept is innovative because it combines Mexican cuisine with Asian flavours. Ly is the chef/owner of Foreign Concept, Concept Catering, Greenfish Sushi (in partnership with Chef Darren MacLean) and Takori;
  • Greenfish, Chef Darren MacLean (in partnership with Chef Duncan Ly). Greenfish is the first fully sustainable quick service sushi restaurant in Canada and only uses fish approved by Monterrey Bay Seafood Watch and Oceanwise to ensure no species that are endangered or are harmful to the environment are on the menu. Half of the menu is also plant-based and uses fresh ingredients. Award-winning Chef MacLean is the chef/owner of Shokunin (ranked in Canada’s 50 best restaurants six years in a row), Nupo, EIGHT and Greenfish Sushi (in partnership with Chef Duncan Ly). He was Canada’s sole contender and a finalist on Netflix’s global cooking competition, ‘The Final Table’;
  • Oishidesu Ramen Shack, Arce Morales. Inspired by his travels to Japan, Arce Morales fell in love with Japanese cuisine and was inspired to create Oishidesu Ramen Shack. Ramen shacks can be found everywhere throughout Japan and are a popular, quick comfort food that Arce is excited to share with Calgarians. Morales is also the owner of Mom’s Happy Kitchen;
  • Roy’s Korean Kitchen, Chef Roy Oh. Roy’s Korean Kitchen will be serving Korean comfort food with a Canadian twist. Guests are invited to try Korean food from a unique point of view. Oh was born and raised in Edmonton and grew up eating burgers, pizza and nachos alongside kimchi stew, raw marinated crab and Korean BBQ. His combined experiences have inspired him to take diners on an exciting culinary adventure with this latest chef-driven concept. Oh conceptualized celebrated Calgary restaurant Anju;
  • Shrub Bloom, Chef Adam Ryan. Ryan believes that vegetarian food doesn’t have to be bland or boring. Shrub Bloom takes familiar ideas and concepts that people eat regularly and puts a unique spin on it so all preconceived bias about vegetarian food can be thrown out the window. Shrub Bloom serves vegetable forward food with a focus on sustainable, Canadian, and unique producers. Ryan is the co-owner/chef of Shrub Bloom and two other soon-to-open concepts: Milpa, and Fire and Flora. Fire and Flora will also be opening at The District in the coming months. Ryan was previously head chef at The Coup;
  • Modern Burger, Stephen Deere of Modern Steak. The award-winning Modern Steak opened in 2014. From the start, this included aspirations of creating a local, chef-driven burger concept as a spin-off of the restaurant, which has now come to fruition with Modern Burger. Modern Burger only serves ranch specific Alberta Beef. 

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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