The Dairy Lane Cafe has been nestled in the community of West Hillhurst since 1950 and sources local and organic ingredients where possible. Admitted burger “junkie” Michael Noble (of NOtaBLE) called Dairy Lane’s burger one of the best things he ate in Calgary last year. “It’s a nice, high burger that looks very appealing—all the juices are running out. It makes you want to eat it,” he said. What an endorsement.
I ate the Dairy Lane Burger ($11) adding smoked bacon ($2), peppered Gouda ($2.50) and gazpacho ($1).
The thick burger patty — 28-day aged Angus beef from Crystal Creek — was beefy and juicy without being greasy. The grilled bun was soft and yielding yet held the burger together nicely. The bacon’s thick, crispy slices were appealingly obtrusive. Meanwhile the gazpacho was uber fresh, with the right amount of zing to render it memorable.
My friend Vivian’s turkey and basil burger with basil pesto, sundried tomato jam and roasted red pepper ($15) was well-balanced: savoury and moist with the perfect amount of charred flavour.
Normally she abhors sundried tomatoes because the flavour reminds her of the dried up goo around the neck of a ketchup bottle. In this case, even her tomato nemesis could do no wrong.
Even the single-source bottomless coffee was spot on ($2.95).
The menu also features numerous tempting breakfast items and gluten-free options. This is the type of restaurant where you ogle other diners’ plates while you’re waiting for a table. The other diners will automatically think you’re drooling because they are so gorgeous, or, you are a dog, hunger and perversion-wise. Let them be fooled.
The service is efficient once you are seated, but the cozy and bustling diner (seats 20 inside, 12 on patio) doesn’t take reservations for lunch. If you have time to wait for a table, it’s well worth it.
Dairy Lane Cafe, 319 19th Street N.W., Calgary, 403-283-2497
Monday to Friday: 7:00 am to 3:00 pm; Weekends: 8:00 am to 3:00 pm
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Jughead crowns
Price range: ($8.75 – $15.00)