Dairy Lane Cafe, Calgary

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on August 14, 2011

Gluten-free burgers.

These three words are like music to my ears, like trumpets sounding, and angels singing. Well, you get the idea.

When we heard Dairy Lane; a local cafe in the heart of Calgary; was serving up gluten-free dishes, we put it on the top of our dinning list… along with at least a dozen other restaurants.

Needless to say, our visit was well overdue.

The Dairy Lane Cafe first opened its doors in April of 1950. They pride themselves in carrying on the tradition of running a small, independently owned neighborhood business and seek to provide great tasting, high quality food while striving to minimize their environmental footprint.

They back-up their claim of providing the cleanest ingredients possible by listing all of the local farmers they work with right on the menu. How cool is that?

Basically, their menu is jam-packed with local and chemical free ingredients, their service rocks, and their food is great.

Oops… did I spill the review beans already?

After having a nice conversation with the bubbly waitress who’d just started working at the cafe a week ago, we decided to start things off with a Zora’s Lemonade to start. The day was hot and the thought of sharing anything else was just overwhelming.

I think I got about two sips from the cup before it was all gone. From what I did get to taste, it wasn’t overly sweet and had a perfect lemony zing. My only suggestion would be to serve it in a bigger glass!

It’s rare that Kevin and I choose the same thing off the menu, but to my surprise we both landed on the Dairy Lane Burger + Fries within moments of polishing off our Kevin’s lemonade.

Kevin ordered his burger with bacon, sauteed mushrooms and potato fries. Mine had sauteed mushrooms, yam fries, and a gluten-free bun!

We sat back on the patio with our ice waters in hand and marveled at the surroundings. I wish I would have taken a picture!

The cafe is in the heart of the community, surrounded by residential housing and limited traffic. It really feels like you’re enjoying lunch on the front step of a friends house.

The patio seats about 13 people at best, and perhaps another 20 could fit inside the cafe. It’s cozy, but not overwhelming.

And then our food came.

The burgers were plated on rectangle white dishes, balanced with the perfect amount of crispy fries and a metal ramekin of ketchup.

I caught specs of brown sugar on my yam fries mmm!

The cafe offers gluten-free options for all bread based menu items. I’ve enjoyed many a gluten-free bun in my time but unfortunately these did not fit the bill. Sadly, they didn’t come close to the Udi’s hamburger bun experience :(

The presentation was great, but the taste of the bun wasn’t anything special. I found it to be too doughy for the patty, and a bit sour for my taste.

Once I removed the patty from the bun; which was somewhat out of necessity because the thing was falling apart; I was greeted with a deliciously juicy and perfectly spiced patty. The bun didn’t do this burger justice. I’d almost wish I’d eaten the whole thing without the bun – it hid a lot of the flavor.

The yam fries were just as I expected – crispy, sweet, and delicious. They weren’t soggy or over spiced which is a common theme for restaurant yam fries. I give these babies a clear 5 out of 5.

Kevin absolutely loved his burger. I don’t think he said one word during the entire experience. I was trying to pry a statement from him by asking questions like,

“Was adding the bacon a good idea?” nod

“Is it juicy?” nod

“How does the bun taste?” grunt mmm

His last bite was followed with a “Oh wow, that was amazing”

So there you have it folks, a nod, nod, grunt, mmm, amazing review from Kevin. I’d say that’s pretty good.

We would return because the burger patties were delicious, but I think I would ask for the gluten-free burger sans bun and just eat it with a fork. That, or bring my own rice wrap. All in all, it was the ambiance and service that made our visit memorable.

We left feeling relaxed and ready for our game of mini golf! Mission accomplished.

Now, if you know anything about me… you know I have a hard time not cheating when I’m playing games. Uno, Monopoly, Life, pictionary, mini golf… they’re all the same.

What fun is it to play Monopoly without robbing the bank? Common, when will we ever get to do that in real life, people?

And, if the darn ball wont go into the hole you want it to, what’s the harm in pretending the golf ball is a soccer ball?

Reason #342 why I love Kevin so much – he let’s me cheat and even laughs at it. If that doesn’t say soul mate, I don’t know what does.

I’d like to say I totally won this game fair and square but I’d be lying :P

We finished the day with a stroll through Prince’s Island Park and a quick stop at the health food store for some much needed quinoa flakes.

It was a perfect day :)

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie

That restaurant sounds lovely! And I completely agree with you about cheating at mini-golf. I usually say “hey look over there!”, J indulges me, I knock the ball in with my foot and he pretends to congratulate me for a good shot. Ha!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

baha I’m glad I’m not the only one!!

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Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen)

I would say the burgers stole the show in this post, but really it was your smile! Great review and it looks like a perfect day Leanne! Enjoy the rest of it!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks Sarena :)

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

I love this post, Leanne!! It really shows YOU and your life. Food is nice, but as i have ALWAYS said about blogs and reading blogs, if i want just recipes, i can get those anywhere.

I love the personality and personal touch and whole vibe of this post.

Great photo collage of the mini golf. Things like that take me FOREVER to make, like at least 20 mins or more! I need your secrets!!

And I always forget about your great ink: love it. Love it. Posted yesterday im contemplating more. Nothing definitive. Yet. :)

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks Averie! I love adding personal posts here and there, because I agree with you, no sense coming to a blog that’s just recipes. Now, if only my life were more exciting and eventful.
The collage did take me 20 minutes, maybe more. Darn those things!
I’m thinking about new ink too. Will probably get it in the Fall. It’s going to be all the things we saw during our first diving vacation!

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Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free

Awww :D You two are the cutest couple!

And I wish I had a gluten-free restaurant around me! Absolutely nothing like that here :(

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles

Sounds perfect!! My boyfriend tells me I’m always cute. I know he’s lying (I’m NOT cute when I wake up. Or haven’t showered.), but I like to hear it :)

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Kristin @ eat healthy. be happy. live well.

Sounds like a perfect day! I wish we had a place that served GF buns because I’m tired of just eating meat on a plate…I’ll have to try out Udi’s buns for home next time!

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Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel

gorgeous smile :)
And you can bet im jealous you had access to such delicious gluten free burgers! i’m not sure if i can get anything like that here, and even if i can, it sure wouldn’t be as dynamite as these!

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Joyce

I am seriously jonesin’ to get myself up to Calgary and order those sweet potato fries and eat until I explode. I love them, but am usually disappointed because they’re nearly always soggy & floppy.
It sounds like you had a pretty perfect day, and I LOVE that your last stop was to get quinoa flakes, haha!

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Amanda K

Wow, your day sounds amazing! I’m so envious! I can’t wait to try out Dairy Lane, I’ve never heard of it before! Exclamation point!

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Stephanie

Mmm the burgers look ah-mazing! I’ve only been to the Dairy Lane for breakfast, and it’s always delicious! I will have to go back and try the dinner menu!

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torviewtoronto

lovely post I haven’t been over there

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michelle

I love restaurant reviews, especially the Canadian ones :) Calgary is a great city and your blog does a great job of showcasing it.

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

Sounds like a great restaurant! Fun day!

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Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox

That diner looks amazing! Definitely my kind of place. Love good burgers and lemonade.
Oh wait you’re not supposed to pick up the ball and help it to the hole in mini golf??

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