Blue Chair Cafe
By YP Contributor

World Traveller

In 1972, Harold Wollin was travelling the world when a tapas bar in the Canary Islands changed his life. In particular, an open faced green pepper sandwich. It was so delicious it made him come back to Edmonton and enroll in cooking school. Eventually, Harold became a Red Seal chef. That led to more travelling, cooking on charter boats, cruise ships and in hotels around the world. After brief career changes into journalism and graphic design, the kitchen called him back and he opened the Blue Chair Cafe in 2004. “Since I started in the food business, I wanted my own place,” says Harold. “Having a restaurant is, in most cases, a dream and very difficult to bring to fruition and difficult to succeed in. You have to do it all yourself.”

That was true at the Blue Chair Cafe.  It was a one-man show at first. “The first five years were really difficult. I did everything,” says Harold. “I would come and take your order, go in the back and cook it and then bring it to you.” But he got some help and hired more staff and, slowly, it’s become a successful restaurant featuring cuisine from around the globe, inspired by the different tastes Harold tried during his travels.

I have to attribute some of our success to the music. Live music with a dinner is a concept that very places in Canada do. - Harold Wollin, owner
Blue Chair Cafe is owned by a Red Seal Chef who's global travels inspired the restaurant's diverse cuisine

Live Music

The Blue Chair Cafe isn’t just known for its cuisine. Since its inception, it has been a spot for live music featuring some of the best artists in the city and from across North America. “I have to attribute some of our success to the music,” says Harold. “Live music with a dinner is a concept that very few places in Canadsa do.”

Harold strives to support musicians and he understands well what will entertain the crowd at the Blue Chair Cafe. “Even though music is the language of all ages, the demographic that likes my place is an older group. They’re the Woodstock generation,” says Harold. “They appreciate a good dinner and they like live music. They like to hear the songs they know. They like to hear a well written song. Sitting down, eating dinner and listening to music is a beautiful thing.”

Blue Chair Cafe combines food with live music for a pleasant dining experience

Gluten free

Harold doesn’t spend as much time in the kitchen as he did in the café's early days, but he does keep a close eye on what’s coming out of the kitchen to ensure it’s always fresh and the quality is consistent. Since day one, the Blue Chair Cafe has been known for high quality gluten-free options and vegetarian dishes.

The food, the music and the lively atmosphere make the Blue Chair Cafe an enjoyable way to spend an evening. “This is the beauty of this place sometimes,” says Harold. “If I have a really good show and the people have liked the show and they’ve had a good dinner, I could stand at the door and get hugs. When you’ve done a good job and people are thanking you and feeling appreciative for the evening they’ve had, there’s no feeling like that. That’s wonderful.”

Blue Chair Cafe combines food with live music for a pleasant dining experience
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