Food & Wine Photo Credit: Earls

Ste. Marie Designs Earl’s Concept Restaurant

A boutique edition of the upscale-casual dining chain, Earls 67, opens in Calgary.

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The last thing you’d expect from a brand as established as the upscale-casual Earls Kitchen and Bar is experimentation, but to mark the milestone of 67 locations, the restaurant chain is dabbling in a little reinvention with the launch of an expansive, two-storey “prototype” in downtown Calgary.

Earls 67, as it’s called, is a stark departure from the usual dark leather banquettes and booths one associates the restaurants. Instead, Earls tapped Vancouver’s Glasfurd and Walker and Ste. Marie Design to create a concept space divided into intimate zones full of light woods, soft lighting and and luxurious-but-natural finishes. “We were allowed to challenge the status quo,” says Ste. Marie’s Craig Stanghetta. Materials used included bleached walnut wood paneling, calacatta marble, brass and copper accents in the lighting, smoked glass and green and tan leather for the banquettes in the canteen. “Even though there are multiple spaces there is still an intimacy and connection about the space,” Stanghetta adds.

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On one side of the 10,000-square-foot main floor, a long bar, open kitchen, and banquette seating evokes a communal canteen-style atmosphere; in the opposite corner, the Bankers’ Bar, with its smoked glass, dark walls, and brass accents, allows for a more intimate experience.

According to Mo Jessa, the President of Earls Restaurants, the second story glass atrium, built under the Plus 15 and modelled after shipping containers, is not only movable but one of the first of its kind in Canada. But despite the different dining vignettes, the hallmark of Earl’s history is apparent throughout with its parrot logoed signage and menus. “We wanted to pull inspiration from the past and yet put it into a modern context,” explains designer Phoebe Glasfurd.

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