The Loop – Where Families, Friends & Neighbors Eat

Mhairi O'Donnell, owner of The Loop in Calgary.

Mhairi O’Donnell, owner of The Loop in Calgary.

My life and memories tend to be measured and remembered by experiences involving food and people. Recently, I sat down for breakfast with Mhairi O’Donnell and Jessie from Immedia PR at The Loop and amidst much laughter and food, breakfast turned into lunch and lunch then turned into a late afternoon wine tasting. And I measured my day, counting two new friends, a delicious eggs benny, a perfect club house sandwich and hours of shared inspiration–this day was one to be remembered and that is exactly what The Loop is all about.

Mhairi, pronounced Vah-ree, purchased the restaurant in June of 2013 with the intention of renovating it over the summer. About a week later, the flood of the century hit Calgary and Mhairi’s other diner location in Mission was underwater. She put her plans for The Loop on hold and quickly opened it so that her staff would have a place to work. After speaking to Mhairi for just a few minutes, I got the sense that she addressed this setback with the same direct and matter-of-fact attitude that she has towards everything else in her life. There is no pretense with this business owner, there are just direct facts that are more often than not served up with a large side of humour (some of it PG).

Mission Breakfast - avocado, sauteed mushrooms, cream cheese, two poached eggs on toasted rye topped with hollandaise and sprouts.

Mission Breakfast – avocado, sauteed mushrooms, cream cheese, two poached eggs on toasted rye topped with hollandaise and sprouts.

“I’m a firm believer in treating employees like people, not like a meal ticket.” – Mhairi O’Donnell

I returned to The Loop the day after their “Two-Day Makeover” was completed by the Alykhan Velji Designs team. When Mhairi had discussed the upcoming makeover at our first meeting she told me, “I want a place that I want to hang out. The Loop should be like the best and most thoughtful hostess you have ever had, not judgey and very caring.” As I took in the new scene, bustling with happy people, I felt like Mhairi’s vision was reflected all around me. I took one before shot of The Loop and you can see some incredible after shots HERE on their Facebook page.

The Loop Pre-Makeover

The Loop Pre-Makeover

For those of you already acquainted with The Loop, pre-makeover, rest assured that all the things you loved are still there. The same amazing light from those great big windows now shines in on a calm and fresh colour palette, updated funky lighting and some very cheeky wallpaper that I now want in my own kitchen. Still there are the same friendly staff, all of the the board games, the sunny patio and the really great beer and wine selections.

Opening day flowers brought by Peaseblossoms.

These gorgeous flowers were personally delivered by another local business owner, Marika of Peaseblossoms and her children to congratulate Mhairi and The Loop. (

Marika from Peaseblossoms is joined for breakfast by her entourage.

The patio was occupied with The Stampede Marching Band.

The patio was occupied with The Stampede Marching Band.

For those who may not yet be acquainted with The Loop, if you like a healthy dose of community and lingering at a table with friends or family, head on over right away. Take your kids and play some board games or go with some friends and stay so late that you end your night with a Jack and Coke float. I have already booked a working breakfast with a friend at The Loop for next week!

For those out-of-town chefs looking to do a pop-up restaurant experience in the Calgary food scene, The Loop is definitely a venue to check out. They recently hosted Calgary’s top Asian chefs, Roy Oh, Duncan Ly and Hayato Okamitsu and they served up 14 dishes from Vietnam, Japan, Korea and the Philippines to raise funds for flood relief in Calgary’s Chinatown.

You can find The Loop (and free parking) at 2015 33rd Avenue SW.

I feel like I should end this with one of Mhairi’s quotes that made me chuckle.

 “Eating is pretty much the greatest thing other than drinking–Drinking’s pretty good.” – Mhairi O’Donnell


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