By Will Tigley
Karen Kho and David Sturies’ empire is growing.
This time last year they were selling their specialty meat products from the basement of Una Pizza + Wine. Now two months after opening they’re making an impact in south Calgary from their new storefront location on the intersection of Elbow Drive and Heritage Drive.
Previously having focused on locally-sourced, naturally raised meat products available for pick-up and delivery, Empire Provisions has added a new aspect to their offerings with an in-store menu serving warm food.
“It has always been our goal to have a physical space of our own,” explains Kho. “A place where we can sell our products, but also showcase what we make on a menu.”
The lunch menu is a diverse assortment of meats from the New Orleans inspired Muffaletta, a pork schnitzel, and meatballs. Kho’s Filipino heritage even shows up in the Porchettaboutit sandwich, a slow roasted pork belly coupled with crackling’ skin to make it feel like you’re biting into a lechon sandwich.
Kho and Sturies international influences are all over the menu. Their inspiration comes from their travels and meals they shared with their families. They’ve introduced Korean inspired dressing and a Burmese sausage in some of their flavourful sandwiches. The couple also kept their ready-to-purchase sausages available to their customers and includes their unique take on longanisa.
“Dave and I are avid cooks and having the chance to prepare meals out of our product was always our vision,” says Kho. “We’ve also opened up the idea of “provisions” to extend past meat. We make soups, takeaway meals, preserves and we smoke nuts and olives. We have included a beautiful cheese counter that features predominantly Canadian cheese.”
Located in a small strip mall shop in the community of Haysboro, Empire Provisions is setting itself apart from fast food with their casual food service.
“We make food that is comforting, creative and affordable, but we make it from high quality ingredients,” explains Kho. “We make food that is satisfying.”
From the past year of building Empire Provisions, Kho says their regular customers have been their best supporters and have loved the expansion of offerings. For the south Calgary community, Kho and Sturies are introducing them to their unique flavours with a positive response.
“We feel very lucky to have such a loyal following.”
For more information on Empire Provisions find them on Instagram and Twitter or visit their website at empireprovisions.com.