Connie De Sousa and John Jackson opened their new restaurant, CHIX Eggshop, located in the Alt Hotel Calgary East Village, just a few days ago. Meet the cooks, to whom we already owe popular Charcut and Charbar, to talk about puns, eggs and cocktails.
Where does the name CHIX Eggshop comes from? I can see at least two puns in it.
John: There are so many meanings and yes, so many puns! So the idea for this restaurant started with the chicken sandwich with a fried egg on top. It was our inspiration. We wanted to incorporate both the chicken and the egg in our concept. We wanted it to be like a steakhouse, but for eggs. You wouldn’t call this an egghouse, it’s not very cute. So we thought… in the kitchen, when we write orders, chix is short for chicken. Also, we wanted it to be a tribute to the important "chicks" in our lives, our mothers.
Is CHIX Eggshop mostly about eggs and chicken, then?
Connie: It’s mostly eggs, yes. But we also have salads for lunch, with chicken. I’m also really proud to offer a gluten-free fried chicken.
John: How we explain our menu is mix of healthy dishes and indulgent choices. It’s healthy meets happy.
You say that each dish on the menu has its own story. Is there one that you could share with us?
Connie: Our French toast pie was inspired by a dessert we do at Charcut. We changed the recipe a bit so it’s more like a breakfast now. It’s a pile of French toast with a thin layer of vanilla custard and, of course, Quebec maple syrup.
You have a nice variety of alcoholic beverages at CHIX Eggshop. Why did you decide to offer alcohol at a breakfast and lunch place?
John: It’s day drinking, why wouldn’t we offer it?! We have super hip, craft beverages and cocktails and people are loving it. We have mimosas, Bloody Caesars, giant cans of hard soda. At CHIX Eggshop, there is no happy hour. It’s happy all day!
Connie: We had a good time selecting the beverages. We are a fast, casual dining, so we don’t have a lot of time shaking cocktails. We needed ready to drink options. We are impressed by the variety and quality of cocktails that come in a can.
What is your favorite meal on the menu?
Connie: The gluten-free fried chicken. I have recently been diagnosed with celiac disease. As a chef, it was devastating to hear at first. But now, I’m on a mission to make everything gluten free delicious. I’m not going to give up on everything I used to eat, I am going to find ways to adjust recipes. So when we were doing the menu, John and I had an argument about gluten-free fried chicken.
John: I was against, but Connie made a version of fried chicken using gluten-free potato starch. It is crispy and it keeps the chicken juicy… so I bought it! She was right, it’s delicious! And I’m glad that we are able to have that option that is delicious, it made us more diverse in our options.