When my Haligonian friend, Vanessa, suggested I check out a new spot serving Halifax-style street food, I was in. Blowers & Grafton is named after the “Pizza Corner” in Halifax that became famous for its donairs and is now a street foodie destination for locals and visitors alike. (Note to self – add a visit to that intersection to my bucket list!)
Matt, Spencer and I were worried when we first arrived that we’d be in for a bit of a wait as the small waiting area was packed, but the hostess physically shuffled tables until she reached a configuration that would fit everyone. We were seated (cozily) with drinks in hand less than 10 minutes after we walked through the door. It was nice to have a chance to check out the clean-cut decor while listening to cool Canadian music before we got down to business.
The house beer is B&G Lager, a lightly carbonated, easy-drinking brew from our local Minhas Micro Brewery. We all really enjoyed it on its own and with the food. Even if we hadn’t, it’s tough to go wrong at $5 a bottle. The drink menu had lots of great options, including a list of adorably themed cocktails – the Maritime Mule, Peggy’s Coke and the Bluenoser, to name a few.
Everything on the food menu looked amazing. Vanessa grew up on this stuff, so when she suggested I try the garlic fingers and deep-fried pepperoni (“standard Halifax classics” in her words) I couldn’t refuse. She’d also heard from friends in the know that the B&G donair sauce was excellent – “a rare find in Calgary” (also her words, I’m not trying to pick a fight)! There was also a trio of mini lobster rolls, so we had to give that a go for sure. Oh, and we couldn’t skip a pizza! By that point Matt and Spencer were ready to confiscate my menu, so we wrapped it up there.
I was expecting the deep-fried pepperoni ($13) to come out like little corn dogs. Instead, these were thin(ish) slices of Brothers Pepperoni (a Nova Scotian staple, I’m told) deep-fried and gently curled. They were simultaneously crisp, tender and perfect for dipping in the accompanying zesty, house-made honey mustard. I was grateful that our server warned us about the mild pepperoni having quite a kick as I’m not sure I could have handled the hotter option without many more lagers to wash them down.
Next were the lobster rolls ($18)! The lightly toasted bread was really stable and held the whole sandwich together very well. The word “fresh” kept getting tossed around while we ate these as the filling was lightly creamy and made with the perfect amount of dill to wake up what might have otherwise been a rich sauce. It was a great balance of buttery, salty and crusty bread with the tender, sweet and savoury lobster salad resting on a creamy, crunchy slaw with finely minced onion. The rolls were also resting on a gigantic bed of house-made crunchy potato chips (excellent for dipping into B&G’s donair sauce or house honey mustard, if you ask me!)
The garlic fingers ($13) were a big hit and we gobbled those up pretty efficiently. They’re simply pizza dough coated with garlic butter and tons of cheese (and of course we added bacon for an additional $2). I really liked that the bacon was shredded finely so you got some in every bite. The donair sauce that came out with it was great too – not as cloying as you find in a lot of the local donair shops.
We had also ordered a donair pizza ($16.50) because our garlic fingers definitely needed a buddy on the double decker trivet. I may have convinced the team with arguments along the lines of “easier to share than a donair wrap” and “do it for the blog”. The pizza had really great flavours, an impressive amount of well-seasoned donair meat as well as nice, fresh diced tomatoes that were small enough not to roll off every slice. There wasn’t a lot of cheese and we did miss it a bit, but the other flavours held up their end. The crust was also bulkier than I usually like, but that made for a very filling slice, which the guys appreciated.
I could feel my ankles and wrists swelling from all the sodium while we feasted, but would 100% recreate this meal. My favourite thing was the lobster rolls, which we thought would work great as an entrée for one person. We all agreed the fried pepperoni is a perfect shared basket for a group of friends. (Do not attempt on your own unless you’re a true badass with the OK from your cardiologist.) We loved all of the house-made sauces, the prices were reasonable, the atmosphere was great and we could speak to one another without having to yell over the music. It’s on the busy section of Edmonton Trail that’s absolutely packed with brunch spots, so be warned that it may be trickier to find street parking and/or get a table here for a weekend lunch.
I highly recommend Blowers & Grafton (709 Edmonton Trail NE) as a great spot for drinks with friends, date night, dinner with middle-aged parents (different from the tried and true, while still Canadian and familiar). I also imagine this would be a really nice piece of nostalgia for anyone homesick for their favourite Halifax foods. If you haven’t tried it already, get out there soon – and don’t skip a chance to order the garlic fingers!