Restaurants on 17th Avenue combat street shutdown with Roadblock Party celebrations

A major nuisance in the form of a major artery getting shut down for road repairs has become a reason to throw a party for restaurants along part of 17th Ave. S.W.

The inconvenient – OK, let’s call a spade a spade here: incredibly annoying, albeit necessary – repairs to the street mean the city is shutting down the stretch from 2nd to 4th Street. Or, in easier terms to remember, the closure is from Pigeonhole and Model Milk to Anju.

And those restaurants, along with Calcutta Cricket Club and Buttermilk Fine Waffles, are set to turn construction into celebration.

It’s not a block party. It’s a Roadblock Party.

The five will take advantage of the road closure to throw open their doors, offering exclusive dishes and discounted drinks, along with live music and pop-up shops – even a game of Twister.

All of this is set to be good fun, as well as a reminder to people that while the actual street may be closed, business is still underway for the restaurants along this stretch – and beyond. Improvements to 17th Ave. S.W. will see closures all along that street for the coming months, and business owners are understandably concerned shutdowns will turn people away.

The Roadblock Party will kick off at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3 and goes for a nicely well-rounded 12 hours. Throughout the day, each spot is going to have its own pop-up shop, and nibbles and drinks, as well as some activities.

Plan accordingly.

Starting at 4th Street S.W. – where the crosswalks have been painted for Calgary Pride – Anju will be serving up buck-a-shuck oysters from City Fish, along with complimentary Anju-style hot dogs and $5 beer from Last Best Brewing.

Calcutta Cricket Club – the newest kid on the block – has free Kati Rolls (a must-try), $5 cocktails or beer from Phillips Brewing, music by the Kinfolk DJs and a jewelry pop-up from Tribe of Lambs.

Continue down to the street to Buttermilk Fine Waffles for a Mario Kart marathon, Twister on the patio, $5 tostada waffles and pop-ups from the Annex Ale Project and Calgary Heritage Roasting Co.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Model Milk will host Fond Boutique and Understudy for some pop-up shopping. All day, they’ll serve up $5 pints and cocktails, along with free smoked brisket sandwiches.

Next door at Pigeonhole – the final stop in the block-long event – Moth Chocolates will be on hand for something sweet, but start with a free arepa and a glass or two of $5 rose.

For more details, head to the Roadblock Party website.

Gwendolyn Richards is a Calgary-based food writer and the author of Pucker: A Cookbook for Citrus Lovers. She regularly contributes to Avenue Magazine, the Calgary Herald and is the restaurant columnist for Where Calgary. She shares her cooking and eating adventures – and occasionally some of her shoes – on Twitter and Instagram at @gwendolynmr.