Small Businesses Matter – Spaghetti Café Prairie
One day, just out of the blue, I received an email from a man called Takeshi Yamaura inviting me to eat at his restaurant, the Spaghetti Café Prairie. At the time, I had so many events and meetings planned for the next couple of weeks that I really didn’t want to agree to a visit when I wasn’t sure if I would be able to visit at all. He explained his concept, Japanese-style spaghetti, quite nicely in the email:
[The] Japanese Economy developed so much in 80’s. That diversified Japanese culture, include food culture too. That made people can enjoy so many kind of authentic foreign food like French, Indian, Chinese, and Italian. Especially Italian pasta became one of people’s favourite because it looks fancy but not pricey. Japanese people are not just eating, they learned how to cook pasta authentic way, many Japanese chefs went to Italy to learn how to cook. Then, they found that they can use any kind of ingredients for pasta, if keep based on authentic. You can find Spaghetti Houses in almost every shopping malls in Japan. They usually have 20 variety of spaghetti include traditional Italian style, Japanese style and unique ethnic style.
Now I was curious to visit…
When I looked at his location and my schedule, the stars aligned perfectly for a visit the following Thursday, right before my son’s late football game. The Spaghetti Café Prairie is located right across from the football fields at Shouldice Athletic Park and game time was 8:30, more than enough time to get the boy loaded up with carbohydrates. Arranging the visit was the easy part, the tough part was finding the café which is in a tiny strip mall with a difficult to access parking lot. The good news is that if you miss it, you can turn on the next right and drive around the block again. It is very easy to access via Calgary Transit, in fact, my hubby rode the bus in from the city core and found the café with no problems at all.
We were quite early, but we weren’t the only customers in the café. The space is brightened up by the sunny orange tablecloths and the smile of Akie, who is Takeshi’s only employee. The café is very informal; you order and pay at the front counter, then chef Takeshi makes the food and delivers it to your table. As with many small businesses, Takeshi works long hours to ensure the business is successful and he takes great joy and pride in his food. Despite this, he knows his concept is quite foreign but he hopes it will become popular much like the Japadog has in Vancouver.
I’m going to start with my favourite, the Creamy Nuts Spaghetti. Peanut butter, cream, garlic, and ginger on perfectly cooked spaghetti and topped with chopped peanuts. It was the perfect dish for me as pictured, but you can add shredded chicken on the dish for an extra couple of dollars.
Hubby was in the ‘football mode’ so he ordered a classic tailgate food, chili con carne with a twist. Of course it was served on spaghetti and topped with cheddar cheese.
My son and I both wanted to order the authentic Japanese Chicken Spaghetti, so we compromised and asked for extra plates so that we could share in a taste of all the dishes.
All the dishes were flavourful and the spaghetti was perfectly cooked. Best of all, the prices are quite reasonable and you can feed the entire family quality food for less than nearby fast food joints. I do recommend seeking this little hidden gem out, you will be pleasantly surprised at this unique Calgary restaurant.