As part of our ongoing series on Canadian Restaurants That Give, we‘re sitting down with Shayne Perrin of Blue Star Diner AND Dairy Lane Café in Calgary. Since joining Mealshare in 2013, these two Calgary restaurants have donated 42,000 meals to hungry youth. That's something to chew on!
FBC - As the very first restaurant to join the Mealshare program, it was only fitting to start with you. Tell us about your two restaurants.
SP - My wife Jodi and I purchased Dairy Lane in 2004. Dairy Lane has been in business since 1950, making it the oldest continuously running independently restaurant in Calgary. We opened Blue Star in 2011. Both restaurants are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our menus consist of contemporary, chef driven comfort food recipes. We believe that the strength of our business lies in the strength of our community. A community that includes our staff, customers, neighbours, farmers, other suppliers and of course the Mealshare team.
FBC - What are your Mealshare menu item(s) and why?
SP - Our Mealshare items change regularly. We like switch it up so that people can experience different items and give back at the same time. Right now, we have the Journey Bowl with a Thai green curry sauce, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, kale, carrot, beet, cilantro, avocado, Sriracha tofunaise with chickpea fritters. There is also the 1st Ave Burger made with ground beef, bacon, caramelized onions, fried egg, white cheddar whiz, roasted shallot mayo, bread & butter dill pickles, butter leaf lettuce and tomato.
FBC - I couldn’t help but take note of your mission statement for both restaurants, “To provide great tasting, high quality food while minimizing our environmental footprint and giving back to the community we live in.” We know your food is great and we know one of the ways you give back (Mealshare), but can you speak about what Blue Star Diner and Dairy Lane Café are doing their part to minimize their footprint?
SP - We are committed to sourcing our food locally whenever possible. We also recycle and compost everything that we can, diverting thousands of pounds of waste from landfills.
FBC - You have a whole page on your site dedicated to your local suppliers, I know it’s probably a tough thing to do with so many good ones, but can you choose 1-2 and give them a shout-out?
SP - One of our very first local supplier relationships was with Gull Valley Greenhouses . We love their tomatoes, cucumbers and other seasonal produce, plus they are really great people. Our staff has visited their facility and learned about their operations and farming techniques.
FBC - Congrats are in order! Two members of your team recently received their Canadian citizenship. Can you share some of your thoughts on being a part of that journey with them?
SP - Raquel and Chris are two of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. They’ve worked so hard to create a new life for themselves and their families here in Canada. It’s been really amazing to see how they’ve been embraced by our Blue Star community.They really are part of our fam and such a huge part of what makes us successful.
FBC - For all the restaurants out there that think doing something like being involved with a charitable organization like Mealshare will take up too much time or too much of their profit, what would you like to tell them?
SP - There’s no doubt that Mealshare makes our business stronger. It’s a simple and effective way for us to contribute to something really important, ending childhood hunger. Mealshare involves our staff and customers and connects them to the process of giving back.
FBC - Thanks for your time today!
SP - Thanks for having us.
For those in the Calgary area, be sure to visit both restaurants!
As part of FBC’s ongoing relationship with Mealshare (FBC's main charity partner), we’re sitting down and interviewing Mealshare restaurant partners from across Canada who have pledged to help them on their mission to end youth hunger in Canada and abroad.
To learn more about how you can make a difference one meal at a time as a restaurant or supporter, visit Mealshare.ca. And always look for the Mealshare logo.