Paper St
By YP Contributor

Creative global street food

Taking inspiration from street food found around the world, Paper St. offers a completely original dining experience. Since opening in June 2016, the restaurant and bar uses locally sourced ingredients to create innovative takes on traditional food from street stalls, street vendors or food trucks, influenced by flavours from around the world. “Here in North America, we’re kind of different from the rest of the world in the way we approach fast food,” owner James Belcher says. “We’ll go to a chain restaurant to get a burger or something, but the way I grew up, we’d walk down the street a couple of blocks to a street vendor.”

These vendors, James says, would sell a single menu item – one dish they’ve spent decades perfecting. And since most of these vendors operate without refrigerators, they’re forced to use whatever ingredients they can find that day. Together with a team of similarly well-traveled partners, James took the concept of “global street food” and turned it into an experience that not only appeals to diners, but also provides a much-needed boost to Calgary’s struggling economy.

Here in North America, we’re kind of different from the rest of the world in the way we approach fast food. - James Belcher, owner
Paper St. boasts a menu inspired by global street food.
Owner James Belcher worked with his partners to create a restaurant inspired by street food experiences around the world. Photo by Jessi Gowan

Working together

“It’s important that when you’re facing these kinds of economic challenges, you support local businesses – support the people around you,” James says. This is an attitude Paper St. has fully embraced, even teaming up with local food trucks to feature some of their more popular creations on the restaurant’s menu. As Calgary’s food truck scene continues to grow, he says Paper St. will take advantage of more opportunities to showcase these dishes.

“It’s about helping each other, instead of being competitive,” James says. “Even from a tourist base, it makes sense: when I’m traveling, I look for opportunities to eat what the locals eat – it’s the best eye into their culture. And we see that kind of response from the tourists that come here, too.”

Paper St. features a full menu of casual dining options as well as beers and spirits.
In addition to a menu featuring plenty of casual dining options, Paper St. has a fantastic selection of beers and spirits. Photo by Jessi Gowan
Paper St. serves up dishes made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
Made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, Paper St.'s dishes offer a regional take on classic street food.

A casual, fun experience

Rather than trying to recreate authentic, traditional dishes, James says Paper St. uses produce and meat from area farms to offer a distinctly regional twist on many familiar favourites. The restaurant’s menu is truly unique – a Southern-inspired waffle cone stuffed with fried chicken strips, mashed potatoes and maple syrup; a plate of tater tots loaded with classic nacho toppings; and the Nashville Hot Sandy, a best-selling sandwich featuring spicy chicken, pepper jack cheese and creamy coleslaw. Each dish is served on a plain metal tray, in keeping with the eatery’s street food theme.

“Our quality and standards are just as high as any fine dining restaurant, but we wanted to create a more casual, fun experience,” James says. “You can tell from the style of our menus and the design of our space that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We wanted to give people a cool, upbeat atmosphere where they can grab lunch or have drinks during happy hour – and people are loving it.”

Paper St. is located in downtown Calgary at a location perfect for after-work drinks.
Located in downtown Calgary, Paper St. is the perfect destination for after-work cocktails, complete with delicious "fast food" alternatives. Photo by Jessi Gowan
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