Whenever I hear a restaurant is using locally sourced products, I get a little excited. So when Twitter started buzzing with what was going on at the Prairie Bistro in the new Enjoy Centre in St. Albert–a new project by the well-known Hole family of Hole’s Greenhouse and Gardens–I knew I had to head over there quick.
The complex that houses the Prairie Bistro will attract visitors to St. Albert like the Muttart does to Edmonton. The Hole family chose Chief Architect Ernst von Meijenfeldt to design the building because he shared the same philosophy as the Holes: to have the building and the land work together. The result is a glorious structure with soaring ceilings and floor to ceiling windows allowing the light to bathe its inhabitants– plants and people alike. The Enjoy Centre is an oasis and a welcomed site after this brutally long winter we’ve emerged from.
(Construction workers were working hard to finish the project at the time of our visit)
Taking up one corner of this beautiful complex is The Prairie Bistro. The Bistro space undulates, like the shape of the land that attracted the Holes to this 4.5 hectare parcel the building sits on. Tables take up an L-section and lead to a beautiful bright green, sleek bar soaked in sunshine.
Around the corner of the bar is where you enter the cafeteria style section of the Bistro. The drink selection is impressive with lots of organic juices and sparkling sodas made with botanical ingredients.
Start at the end of the counter and make your selection.
The day we went there were four hot entrees and three grilled panini to choose from:
The Bistro’s mandate is to support local producers and make everything in-house. Working with proteins and produce that travels a few miles instead of a few thousand means a fresh and flavourful product, and when it comes to dining out, you can’t ask for much more than that.
Pulled lamb panini. Succulent.
Irving Farms Braised Berkshire Pork complimented with fennel and apple.
Braised Rose Ridge Beef Stew. Grandma definitely had a hand in making this one! Delicious.
You can also choose your own salad (priced by weight), soup and fresh-baked scone if you’re looking for a light meal.
Take as much or as little as you want. Fresh and healthy.
For a finishing touch or if you’re looking for a sweet treat in the afternoon, belly up to the dessert bar. You won’t be able to resist these beauties.
Pick a spot and sit a spell. You’ll find it hard to leave, and after lunch you can wander around the Centre and browse through the rows of plants or stroll through the shops but check the website
first; when we went, the shops were close to being open but weren’t quite ready yet. In the very near future, the Enjoy Centre will be offering the following: a spa, a kitchen shop, a wine and liquor store, a floral boutique, a whole foods market, a shop for home decor and gifts, and space for special events like weddings and conferences.
You might go for lunch, but plan to stay awhile…this isn’t just a lunch spot; it’s a destination. A quick check of the website states that the Bistro is now open for dinner starting at 5 p.m. Perfect. That gives me another reason to return (as if I needed one).
My CBC Edmonton AM review can be heard here