Homegrown Business: worker-owned and plant-based restaurant, The Allium

The Allium is a worker-owned, plant-based restaurant in Calgary. We spoke with their co-founder Jared Blustein to find out more about them.

The Allium

What is your business called and what does it do?

The Allium. We are a casual-fine dining, worker-owned plant-based restaurant, located in the Beltline District in Calgary – 211A 12th Ave SW

What made you want to do this work? What problem did you want to solve with the business?

We wanted to show Calgary and the world a better way of doing work, and a more equitable form of economy. Rising debt dependency, increasing wealth stratification, and rising inflation have all made life for the average worker quite difficult. Worker-owned businesses help address these issues by providing profit to the very people producing it. The more money workers have, the more money flows through our economy, the better off we all are. We also wanted to show a better way of running restaurants. One that is less hierarchical, more co-empowering, and supports our local farmers and producers (rather than GFS and Sysco, for example). We work almost exclusively with local farmers and producers, and by supporting our local business community we help make a stronger, more resilient and more connected city for all.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Calgarians! Recent studies have shown that we eat almost twice the amount of protein that we need, but are all lacking in fibre. Eating a delicious plant-based meal at least once a day (if not for every meal) will do wonders for us all! At The Allium, we have no imitation meats, no tofu, no traditional ‘vegetarian’ fair. Our food is innovative, metropolitan, and delicious!

How does your business make money? How does it work?

In addition to being a restaurant with dinner service every Tuesday to Sunday from 5:30 on, we also have a line of takeaway items, such as sauces, meats and spices. You can get these at Lukes Drug Mart, Sunnyside Natural Market, all of the Blush Lane locations, Currated Food Co., and online through Be Local and YYC Growers.

Where in Calgary can we find your profession?

In the Beltline. 211A 12th Ave SW and our website.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

What is unique about your restaurant?

In contrast to the majority of plant-based restaurants in Calgary, we avoid trying to provide any imitation meats, tofu, or nut-based items. We blend a fusion of culinary styles and cultures to provide a unique and elevated dining experience. Additionally, everyone you interact with is an owner, or on their way to being one, and so you receive a unique and warm customer service experience every time, from the very people who own the business

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

Working with friends and equals. And… working with friends and equals 🙂

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? Great food, No atmosphere.

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

Kaffeeklatsch! Just around the corner from us, and perhaps the best cafe in the city!