Calgary Herald: Nights and Weekends pops up in the Grain Exchange Building

 
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Excerpt from The Calgary Herald, written by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth

Opening a restaurant takes a lot more than a dream and a good set of knives. Startup restaurateurs have to contend with countless hurdles, and landing a central location that comes with an affordable lease can seem almost impossible.

So, rather than finding the perfect location and spending endless amounts of money on decor and kitchen equipment, the team behind the recently opened Nights and Weekends has taken an unconventional route. The franchise owners of the Meat and Bread sandwich shop in the downtown Grain Exchange Building approached Nights and Weekends’ now-manager Aaron Ellard, knowing that he has plenty of restaurant experience, including running a roving dim sum pop-up called SUM SUM that’s held events in Calgary bars over the last few years. Since Meat and Bread is only open for lunch, the owners thought Ellard could make good use of the space in its off-hours.

Chefs from left: Bern Glatz, Nick Berenyi and Zander Hamm with the Nights and Weekends pop-up restaurant get food ready before opening in the Meat and Bread sandwich shop. Gavin Young/Postmedia GAVIN YOUNG / CALWP

Chefs from left: Bern Glatz, Nick Berenyi and Zander Hamm with the Nights and Weekends pop-up restaurant get food ready before opening in the Meat and Bread sandwich shop. Gavin Young/Postmedia GAVIN YOUNG / CALWP

Ellard recruited co-chefs Bern Glatz (who has worked in the kitchens at Ten Foot Henry, Anju, UNA and Mercato) and Nick Berenyi (formerly of Bar Von Der Fels, Ox and Angela and UNA), as well as his SUM SUM partner Zander Hamm, who helped out with the menu. Klaire McCallum of Vine Arts signed on as wine director and Nights and Weekends was born.

Despite having a regular location, the restaurant still brands itself as a pop-up, since the space is not really its own. The Nights and Weekends crew moves in on Thursdays through Sundays from 5 p.m. onward when the sandwich shop is closed. The furniture, signage and kitchen all belong to Meat and Bread — dinner guests sit at the 30 seats that line the sandwich counter, front window and a long table towards the back of the room, just as they would if they were grabbing a quick workday lunch. Nights and Weekends is essentially squatting in another restaurant, which is a huge part of its charm.

“We’re a completely different business than the one that operates there during the day,” Ellard says. “We face a lot of constraints in that we’re working around everything that is already in place.”

Read more and find the original article here: https://calgaryherald.com/life/food/chorney-booth-nights-and-weekends-pops-up-in-the-grain-exchange-building

 
Aaron Ellard