Opened last spring by Aja Lapointe and Stephen Smee, Ten Foot Henry has quickly become one of Calgary’s most popular casual-dining options. Located in the city’s funky Victoria Park neighbourhood, the 78-seat, all-day restaurant is known for its vegetable-heavy dishes that are flavourful but also wholesome.
“We really felt that a feel-good food, vegetable-forward restaurant was really missing in Calgary,” says Lapointe, who manages the front of house. “It’s a very meat-forward city, and we just wanted [Ten Foot Henry] to be a place that would bring in a lot of regulars…this is the kind of place that you can frequent often, because you leave feeling great and wanting to come back.”
The airy, plant-filled interior, designed by Connie Young, is casually welcoming and completed with cozy touches such as original fir floors, raw vertical beams, and macramé planters. But it’s the colourful, textural dishes that Lapointe’s husband, experienced chef Stephen Smee—he was previously involved with Una Pizza + Wine, Ox & Angela, and Mercato in Calgary—has developed that are Ten Foot Henry’s true draw. From an addictive Caesar salad with endive and cashews to yellowfin crudo flavoured with chimichurri and sesame to a filling bucatini cacio e pepe, the dishes are complex but still accessible crowd-pleasers.
The family-style menu is always evolving, but Lapointe concedes that there are dishes that are too popular with guests to ever be replaced. “The tomatoes [with feta and sourdough bread] are definitely the number one selling thing that we have,” she reveals. “Nearly every table gets it. Even people that don’t do bread get will get it without the bread, and people who don’t do cheese will get it with cheese on the side.”
Ten Foot Henry, 1209 1 St SW, Calgary, AB, www.tenfoothenry.com.
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