Nov 06

Bookers BBQ Grill and Crab Shack

by John Gilchrist · 1 comment

For over a quarter-century, the old brick warehouse at 316 – 3rd Street S.E. has been home to a series of lively eateries from the boisterous Kingfisher of the 1980s to the various lives of Bookers.

The new Bookers BBQ Grill & Crab Shack – re-opened in September 2009 after renovations – belongs to the Vintage Group which also owns Rush, Vintage Chophouse, and the three Redwater Rustic Grilles. They’ve buffed the place up, moving the bar, replacing the furniture, knocking down some walls, building others, and generally making Bookers look like an old brick warehouse that has a barbecue smoker and a crab boiler in the back.

They’ve kept the garbage can lids that double as service platters and they’ve focussed on a meaty menu of barbecued ribs, pork shoulder, and chicken and on a seafood list that leans toward the Cajun-Creole flavours of Louisiana. There’s nothing delicate about this menu and the only non-meat or seafood dish is a single organic greens salad. (That and deepfried pickles.)

Bookers is the kind of place often found on the seedier edges of office-towered downtowns across North America. But the new Bookers is hoping that the tone of the area around them will change with the revitalization of the neighbourhood. The Cecil Hotel, located across 4th Avenue, is now closed and condominium towers are rising around them.

But Bookers’ bricks just keep getting older and older. And once the new tables and chairs get scuffed up a bit and the smell of barbecue mingles with the sound of live blues, Bookers could become the kind of roadhouse Calgary’s been waiting for.

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