The sit-down experience at Mercato is unlike any other sit-down experience you may or may not have had. And that goes whether you're at the surrounding Italian style counter, or your own personal table. Everything you order here is made fresh, using ingredients from our market. The open kitchen atmosphere (with our big Italian stoves front and centre) is loud and vibrant. Thing is, when you dine at Mercato, interaction with our chefs and other customers is as common as the bread and oil you'll find at your table.
Late in 1988, two unemployed professional friends, one with a Ph.D. in Mineralogy; and the other with a Ph.D. in Soil Chemistry, had the guts to embark on something entirely unrelated to their backgrounds and experience. Due to a temporary lack of professional employment opportunities in their respective fields, they turned to the world of business to make a living. Their first stint was the opening of a small specialty cookie shop in a strip mall located in Calgary’s suburbs, which quickly turned into a failure with substantial losses, due mainly to their lack of business experience. Undeterred by their first foray, they redoubled their efforts and went in for a second try.
Through a business acquaintance they learned about someone who owned two businesses (both quite run down) that were up for sale. One was a pizza place and the other a burger joint. The burger eatery had an asking price less than half of that of the pizza place. Basically, due to limited financial resources they could not afford the more expensive venture and ended up purchasing the Burger Inn. At the time they took possession, the restaurant was in an extremely poor condition and even on the best of days, sales were not sufficient to cover expenditures. The first step they took was to clean up the place, which was done over a period of a couple of months at nighttime. Almost every night, without closing or reducing business hours, they started renovations of the counters, floors and walls in order to upgrade the place to a more presentable condition.
Without any experience in the food industry, the only common sense approach to doing business was to try and serve quality food for as low a price as one could afford. Over the next year or so, sales were slowly increasing and they started to hear more and more encouraging comments being made by their customers. Comments such as “great burgers” to sometimes “best in town” or even ”best burger I have ever eaten”.
Located next to Wurst on 4th St. S.W., La Boulangerie feels like Paris in Calgary. La Boulangerie's buttery offerings include flaky croque monsieurs covered in bechamel sauce, chocolate croissants, and regular croissants. Baguette sandwiches and crepes are also worth a try.