Blue Star Diner, Calgary

Kevin and I were downtown this week dropping his Harley off at the stop and decided to treat ourselves for lunch before we went back to the office.

We were in the Bridgeland area, the hub of some of our favorite restaurants like Sushi Bar Zipang, Tazza, and Main Dish. It’s tough to make a decision when there’s so many great places to go! Luckily we were both in the mood for a burger and fries, so we headed down to Blue Star Diner.

It’s so obvious that Blue Star Diner is owned by the same folks that run Dairy Lane Cafe. The wholesome, fresh feeling we got at Dairy Lane is mirrored at Blue Star.

Here, the walls are bright, with clean and simple photography throughout, a chalk wall where they list all the local farmers they do business with, and cool feature walls like this one:

The wall had me wanting one just like it in my own kitchen, but we don’t drink enough wine warrant building a wall like this. It might work just as well with mason jars filled with grains and pulses though, but I digress.

They pride themselves in sourcing high quality and local ingredients wherever possible, creating a sense of community that just makes you feel good about eating there.

A quick scan of the menu and we were greeted with our favorites from Dairy Lane – yam fries, the classic Dairy Lane burger, and locally made gluten-free buns – that have become way better since my Dairy Lane Cafe review.

I got excited when I saw that they’d added a gluten-free, vegan vegetable burger to their menu. It’s not everyday one gets to enjoy a gluten-free, vegan meal in public, at least not in Calgary! The burger sounded good enough. How could you go wrong with black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, onion, lettuce and tomato?

I’m a sucker the avocado + burger combo and was positive this new menu item was going to be a sure win.

The staff assisted me as they took my order to make sure that what I’d chosen was gluten-free and dairy-free. They seemed really knowledgeable about cross contamination, gluten containing ingredients, and safe items on their menu.

About 30 minutes of waiting and sipping on water, our order arrived… only mine was served with a whole grain bun. I’m happy that I suspected what was set before me wasn’t gluten-free, but I’m not sure everyone would catch something like that.

The waitress apologized and explained that gluten-free wasn’t on our bill, took my plate back and came out with my salad so I had something to eat while Kevin enjoyed his meal. I hadn’t thought to confirm whether or not the salad she’d given me was the same on the gluten plate. Looking back, that would have been a good idea.

While my meal was a bit all over the place, Kevin’s Dairy Lane burger came out juicy and delicious, as normal. It’s no Iron Goat game burger, but at $11.75 for an angus beef burger that brings a bright smile to Kevin’s face, you can consider it a lunch win!

Kevin was about half done his meal when my new gluten-free veggie burger came to the table. I was excited to see the new gluten-free bun but the patty looked a bit sad. When I read black bean burger, it made me think of black beans in the burger, you know, maybe a darker patty with broken up beans? My ongoing kitchen experiments have taught me to never judge a book by its cover, so I dug in!

Sadly, in the case of this black bean burger, my first impression was bang on. It was like eating a block of tofu. There was very little taste to the patty, the guacamole was bland, and there was maybe a teaspoon of pico de gallo, which also left something to  be desired. I tried improving the taste by adding a generous amount of salt and pepper, even removing one half of the bun but it didn’t help. I threw in the towel about 30% in and used the bun to soak up the dressing from my salad.

Oh right, did I mention that this burger was $14.75 + $2 gluten-free bun and $1 for the salad instead of fries, that’s a whopping $17.75 for a subpar meal. Disappointing.

Having been to Blue Star once before, I know that there are better things on the menu, and for a lot cheaper. Just won’t be going for a gluten-free, vegan burger again!

Blue Star Diner on Urbanspoon

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  1. My husband and I had breakfast at the Blue Star Diner on Saturday. It was our third or forth time going there and finally we got in. The food was good. It took a long time coming and was only warm but good. However, the water. It was nice that we had a bottle on our table BUT when the servers cleared tables the man behind the counter just picked the bottle off the dirty tray and refilled it from the tap.Maybe the tap water is filtered I don’t know. But what got us was that he just refilled that bottle. Did not empty leftover water or wash the bottle. So not to sure if that is a very good idea. Not sure when or if we will return.

    • I’ve asked about the water before and know that it’s only tap water but wow on just refilling it. If it’s been to a table it should not have been reused like that.. yuck! Thanks for sharing your experience, Judy!

  2. I’m surprised that a place that took so much care in serving local foods would have sub-par fare. If it’s fresh it’s usually tasty. $20 is cheap here though, and the ingredients would definitely not be fresh. Nonetheless, I’m sorry your dining experience was disappointing, it’s always frustrating to want something that you can enjoy and not have to cook only to walk out feeling like you could have done a better job at home.

  3. Ouch, that’s pretty rough. I’m moving back to Calgary from Victoria, and it’s definitely going to be hard to readjust to having to hunt for a good vegetarian restaurant meal again. I’ve been wanting to try Blue Star out since moving from Calgary, so this was a good read to keep me from getting that burger!

    • Oh my goodness, I can imagine it’ll be challenging. Calgary isn’t the best for veg restaurants, that’s for sure. There are a couple new places. Have you heard of Cafe Koi? I think it’s pretty new. I’ll be going there in a couple weeks, will be sure to post the review!

  4. one of my biggest annoyances is paying for a pricey meal that is subpar, especially when i know I have food at home that I like that I could have eaten! But you live and you learn right… and veggie burgers were always a hit or miss dining out at restaurants when I was a vegetarian- either straight from a box in the freezer or unique and homemade. Sorry you have such a dud for a meal!

  5. I’ve been meaning to try Blue Star for a while since I’ve heard great things about it. I miss Avenue Diner and I’ve been on the hunt for a good breakfast place in Calgary for a while. That’s too bad that your burger wasn’t the greatest and they couldn’t get your order right. I’m a sucker for the avocado burger combo but if I make it to Blue Star I’ll try something else. Got to love Calgary restaurant prices…le sigh.

  6. Oh that stinks that you had a less than average experience at the restaurant :( I’ve had a few too many of those and they can really ruin the mood! Hope your next visit [if there is one] is better! Have a great weekend!

  7. I’m suprised you got a bun even! I have a dairy allergy and when I was there and told them of this allergy they said that all their buns contained dairy, so I had a bison burger, a piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato on a plate served with fries…it was a sad day.

    • …. awesome. Nope, they didn’t tell me about the dairy in the bun. Totally explains why I felt like garbage afterward. Thanks for the heads up!

  8. Sorry to hear about your sub par burger :( usually blue star diner is so good! Next time you are in the bridgeland area come check out the new naturopathic clinic/ supplement store in bridgeland! It’s called Naturmend and we will be offering 15% off purchases when we first open. If you are interested email me and I can link you to the website and give you a better idea of when the grand opening is! Have a lovely weekend!

  9. I love your restaurant reviews, I keep them bookmarked for my trips to Calgary, haha. Veggie burgers are always so hit or miss in restaurants, hey? During my last trip to Hawaii I found a burger place similar to this one. I was planning on ordering a beef burger, as Hawaii’s beef it OUTSTANDING (coming from Alberta, I have definitely chose my words carefully) but went with a taro based veggie burger that was made with zucchini, carrots, herbs, etc. It had zero flavour. :( So much potential… so disappointing.

  10. I am often disappointed in restaurant meals which is why I rarely dine out anymore! That, combined with the logistics, a small child, the cost to dine out, the time and energy to go there, I am honestly just happier cooking it myself. At least I know what I am in for.

    Sorry your meal was sub-par…AND that it was basically a $20+ dollar meal after tax and tip. So frustrating, I feel ya!