Today I took a break from all the running around I have been doing and went out for a lunch date with my grandma. We decided to try Blue Star Diner, a little restaurant down in Bridgeland that has been open since August. The place was packed which wasn't the greatest for conversation purposes because it was so noisy however I would rather eat in a full restaurant than an empty one. They must be doing something good, right?
Blue Star's whole schtick is to serve food that is as local as possible while having very little environmental impact (as you can see the napkin is made from 100% recycled materials). They support Sylvan Star cheese and eggs, Gull Valley Greenhouses, Spragg Farms and other producers in the Calgary area...well more so the central/southern Alberta area. Clearly the concept is working for them because it was lunch time on a Tuesday and there were hardly any open tables.
I ordered the pesto and gruyere veggie burger with a side salad. All in all it was a pretty good sandwich. The pesto was nice and garlicky which contrasted well with the nutty gruyere. The grainy kaiser bun was super fresh. It was grilled but you could tell that was a conscious decision to add some charred flavor, not a necessity to hide the stale bread. As for the patty itself, it wasn't bad but it could have had more texture. Now I always ask questions about where things come from, how they are made, what's in them, etc. I could tell there was rice in the burger but I wanted to know what else they put in them. Here's the kicker - they do not make their own veggie burgers. Instead they opt to purchase them from their food service company. I wouldn't have such an issue with this if it wasn't for the fact that Blue Star Diner seems to be all about local, sustainable, made from scratch food. If you are going to have an entire section of your menu dedicated to veggie burgers (they have 3 different varieties!) shouldn't you be making them in house? For a place that is willing to advertise their use of Sylvan Star cheese, Gull Valley tomatoes and Spragg Farms chorizo, they sure aren't jumping out and saying "we use Gordon Food Service veggie burgers!" It just makes the customer feel kind of cheated, even if it was a good tasting burger.
My grandma opted for the Blue Star salad. This was a small size and it even came with garlic baguette so all in all, pretty decent value. She enjoyed the combination of maple chipotle vinaigrette tossed together with lettuce, tomatoes, avocados and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Overall, it was a tasty and satisfying lunch. My one piece of advice to Blue Star is that perhaps they should consider putting in that extra bit of effort to make homemade veggie burgers. I understand that sometimes it is a matter of convenience but in this case it contradicted the entire concept of what Blue Star Diner is trying to portray.