The family restaurant/diner can be found in almost every small town across North America: Friendly wait staff, regulars who show up like clockwork for their morning coffees, and the Sunday brunch crowd create a sort of culinary Canadiana. In the small town of Claresholm (3,700 strong) an hour south of Calgary on Highway 2, that restaurant is Roy’s Place.
Roy no longer actually runs the place but when new owners Brandi and Kieth (a Red Seal chef) Carlson took over in 2008, the moniker was kept. The place is quite a go-to in town and the sign a familiar landmark to passersby.
My favourite memories of going to Roy’s throughout the years was the fact they served their fries crinkle cut and they had orange soda. Now I have a tidge of a sweet tooth and orange soda is so rarely served in restaurants these days which meant Roy’s was always a major treat. On my latest visit however, I was mildly dismayed to discover that not only did Roy’s no longer serve crinkle cut fries, they also didn’t have orange soda. (Oh the agony!)
Roy’s serves up your traditional fares such as full breakfasts, steak sandwiches and chicken fingers, but with the new owners came some more signature dishes (especially for a small town) such as the bruschetta chicken burger and penne negash in a menu with a great range of variety.
Debating over breakfast or lunch fare I went with my good ol’ standby, the chicken fingers ($10.95). Now it’s really hard to compromise a dish of chicken fingers but at Roy’s they’re hot out of the frier with a nice crunch and juicy white chicken. Roy’s makes their own honey mustard sauce which is nice and creamy but could use a little more mustardy punch. The fingers come served with straight cut fries which are tasty but just aren’t the crinkly little beauties I used to enjoy.
Chicken fingers with a side of poutine. Photo by Kelsey Hipkin
The breakfast dishes enjoyed by my friends didn’t at all skimp on the servings and give you a lot of bang for your buck (the two eggs, hashbrowns and toast with a serving of bacon, ham or sausage will only run you $7.95).
No small servings here. Photo by Kelsey Hipkin
The food at Roy’s is good and hot and it’s a great place gather with old friends for some brunch chatter … I just wish they still served the crinkle cuts and orange soda.
Roy’s Place Family Restaurant and Lounge
Highway 2 (5008 First Street East)