Nainas Kitchen
By Bob Keelaghan

There are Layers to Their Burgers. Literally.

You think you’ve seen it all with burgers and then Naina’s Kitchen comes along with stuffed hamburgers. These hearty half-pounds of ground beef feature a surprise inside. “They talk about stuffing burgers with cheese in magazines or TV, but you can stuff it with anything. So why stop with cheese?” rhetorically asks Erin Muller, owner of Naina’s Kitchen. She has the answer at her diner tucked away in a small strip mall on Ogden Road by the Blackfoot Trail turn-off. Customers can have their burgers stuffed with four types of cheese, sundried tomatoes, salsa, onions, ham, jalapenos and much more.

It is, however, the mouthful that is the Nainalicious burger, stuffed with pulled pork, caramelized onions, aged cheddar and granny smith apple that put the little diner on Calgary’s culinary map. “It wasn’t until we entered the first YYC Burger Week in 2013 that we did the Nainalicious. We won Burger Week that year,” Erin proudly recounts.

Apart from the stuffed burgers, Naina’s also makes grilled cheese sandwiches that push the boundaries for comfort food. One traditional version is made with bacon tomato and cheddar. “I also want a few stranger additions like the Tuscan (with spinach, sundried tomato and bacon) or the ABC (apple, bacon and cheddar),” says Erin. Naina’s also has a homemade five-cheese mac-n-cheese and a build-your-own poutine menu. Yes, you can also have your burger stuffed with poutine or mac-n-cheese rather than on the side.

They talk about stuffing burgers with cheese in magazines or TV, but you can stuff it with anything. So why stop with cheese? - Erin Mueller, owner
Stuffed hamburgers, grilled cheese, poutine, lunch, dinner, catering
Naina’s stuffed burgers feature delicious fillings cooked into the center of the patty, such as this taco-stuffed burger.

All About That Family Feeling

Naina’s old-style diner decor and creative comfort food is a reflection of the homey feel Mueller and her mother wanted when they opened it in 2010. After a four-year stint working as a food-and-beverage manager at a major hotel in United Arab Emirates, Mueller wanted to run a business where she could work and raise her infant daughter at the same time. “She grew up here in the kitchen with me,” smiles Mueller. “Now we’re nice and busy and she’s in school and not here so much.”

Originally the menu had more classic home-cooked meals, as one might expect in a family-run diner with a name that is Welsh for grandma, but they were overshadowed by one thing. Mueller explains, “We got better and better known for our burgers and put more emphasis on that. It morphed itself into what it is now.” Even with the gourmet twists on the burgers and sandwiches they keep that old, home-cooked taste. “Everything is fresh, not processed. I do my own shopping for ingredients,” Mueller says and adds that her potatoes and onions are supplied by a nearby Hutterite colony.

Stuffed hamburgers, grilled cheese, poutine, lunch, dinner, catering
Naina’s serves burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches.

I’m on TV, Grandma

Naina’s has become something of a destination for lunch and dinner due to its novel burgers and semi-hidden location. It’s worth the hunt, but its profile keeps rising. The Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here! thinks so, too. The popular TV show for gourmands took a trip to Naina’s to sample its stuffed burgers in its 2015 season.

Stuffed hamburgers, grilled cheese, poutine, lunch, dinner, catering
Naina’s Kitchen is tucked away in a small strip mall on Ogden Road near the Blackfoot Trail turn-off.
Close menu