We wanted to add something extra special to our holiday gift guide this year, and what’s more special than delicious food? We connected with the team at Rge Rd, an award-winning restaurant that celebrates local farmers and producers by creating a unique, indulgent dining experience that challenges most people’s idea of “prairie” food.
Rge Rd opened in Westmount in 2013 after co-owners and partners Chef Blair Lebsack and Caitlin Fulton had spent a couple years doing outdoor farm dinners. Since then, they’ve found themselves on a number of best-of lists locally and across the country.
Rge Rd embodies the idea of luxurious comforts, using often humble but high quality ingredients to create those little food moments that you really treasure. As we were photographing their dishes for our gift guide, we asked Blair and Caitlin what they’re doing to make the holidays special this year so we could share some of their ideas with you.
Updated Holiday Plans
Blair and Caitlin typically spend their holidays like many of us do, by celebrating with big family dinners. At one point they even hosted their 25-person Christmas dinner at their restaurant. Christmas Day is often filled with outdoor activities like skiing, horseback riding, or hockey, which sounds just perfect to us.
The outdoor activities are still on this year, but the massive family dinners of course will have to wait. Blair and Caitlin aren’t letting that get them down, though. When they were in France years ago over Christmas, they organized a Skype get-together, and they intend to do something similar this year to keep the families connected while gathering in smaller groups.
Elevating Family Dinner
One perk to the small get-togethers is the ability to get a little more creative with your dinner options. Big turkeys and hams work great when you’ve got 20 people in the room, but if there are only 6 of you per household, you might as well try something a little more ambitious.
Blair was gracious enough to provide us with a recipe that will truly level up your holiday dinner. His Braised Bison Pannekoek has the warmth and sense of tradition that we all crave during the holidays with a rich, elevated flavour that’s a little more fun than turkey and potatoes. You can find the recipe here.
Their Newest Venture: The Butchery
Making Home Time More Special
While we were shooting photos with Blair and Caitlin for our gift guide, they showed us around their brand new venture, The Butchery. Opening a new business during a pandemic AND right before the holiday season may seem daunting, but Caitlin and Blair found the perfect opportunity to do it.
Located right next door to Rge Rd, The Butchery is a local butcher shop and purveyor of quality foods and ingredients, and it opens on November 18, 2020.
At-home meals have become more important than ever, with people paying more attention to where their meat comes from and the quality of the ingredients they’re using. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your weeknight dinners or splurge on something special, they’ve got you covered.
And if you’re planning to make the bison pannekoek recipe we talked about earlier, you can get nearly every ingredient for it there.
A Better Food Experience
The quality at The Butchery is what you’d receive at their restaurant, which is to say it’s the best. They receive full animals from local farmers and butcher them in-house, so you can be sure you’re getting the freshest, highest quality cuts that suit your needs.
They’ll be happy to chat with you about how to prepare what you’re buying and what to pair with it to make sure your experience is what it should be. they’ll be offering classes as well for those who really want to dive deep into the culinary world.
If a turkey dinner is non-negotiable, they will be offering half-turkeys as well as house-made gravy and soup stock to make prep a little easier for smaller groups. They’re also collaborating with Duchess Bake Shop to make tourtiere.
Beyond A Butcher Shop
The Butchery will offer a selection of locally-sourced house-made preserves, freezer meals, sauces and seasonings, along with bread fresh from their wood oven. And they’re licensed, so you can pick up a bottle of wine or some beer to pair with the meal you plan to make that evening.
The long table in the middle of the room will eventually be a communal dining space, though due to COVID restrictions they aren’t able to seat anyone quite yet. There is also a private event room off to the side that has large windows all along the wall and an A/V setup, which will be great for everything from family gatherings to work conferences.
You can tell that Blair and Caitlin really love what they do. They’ve built a community around quality local food in the city already, and The Butchery is helping them to keep building those connections beyond the restaurant. We can’t wait to visit!
The Butchery will be open Tuesday to Friday from 10am - 7pm and Saturday from 10am - 4:30pm.