FOOD AND THE CITY
Calgary caterers evolve to beer and barbecue
Paddy’s 'brewbecue', a casual barbecue joint with counter service and taps at the back, opened last month
The latest addition to Calgary's craft brewery scene comes with a side of brisket.
Sorrenti's Catering has been helping Calgarians celebrate since the 1990s.
When corporate events started to dry up a few years ago, owner Paddy Sorrenti — son of founder Jordan Sorrenti — started exploring new ways to use the Manchester Industrial Park space in the 3600 block of Burnsland Road S.E. they've occupied for the past 22 years.
"After 12 years running the catering business, I figured it was time to do my own thing," says Paddy. "And that's what this place is, it's basically my love child."
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The barbecue came first. Paddy had been playing around with a small hobby smoker and upgraded to a larger trailer smoker — the real deal — in order for Sorrenti's to supplement catered events, particularly during Stampede. They also started making their own deli meats at the time and their own turkey, pastrami and ham go into all their deli sandwiches.
"I love barbecue, and always wanted to have a barbecue restaurant," he says.
"Two years ago our corporate catering started getting really slow, our business really dipped, and we figured maybe this is a good time to redo our catering kitchen. At the same time, I figured out how to keep the catering going, add a restaurant and brewery and offices upstairs."
Paddy's Barbecue and Brewery, a casual barbecue joint with counter service and taps at the back, opened up just before Christmas, in the midst of the busy holiday catering season.
It now operates as Sorrenti's and Paddy's, which specializes in southern style barbecue — think brisket, pulled pork, wings and ribs, with classic sides like baked beans, kale slaw, mac and cheese and hand cut fries.
On weekends they serve up platters of all of the above, and on Thursdays they do pastrami sandwiches unlike any other — pastrami brisket, deconstructed with house pickles, sauerkraut and fresh rye bread, which you can get in sandwich form on Fridays at lunch.
If you keep an eye on their Instagram account, you'll be the first to know when they do a smoked prime rib.
The shiny new beer house in the back specializes mostly in lagers, which they brew just for their restaurant — there's a pilsner, pale ale, IPA, stout, black lager and Vienna lager on tap, along with some guest taps, kombucha and root beer from nearby Annex.
On the afternoon I stopped in, they had a student brew from Old's College Brewery on tap. It's a great addition to a cluster of craft breweries they're calling the Barley Belt — Annex Ale and Banded Peak are close neighbours, a little further away are Village Brewery, Cold Garden (and soon, Dandy Brewing Co.) in Ramsay and High Line in Inglewood.
The eatery opened as soon as the brews were ready.
"We said, let's fire up the smoker and open the doors," Paddy says, "and it has been nuts ever since."
It's all smoked daily and when they're out, they're out.
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