Edmonton’s Best Kept Secret: the Old Timer’s Cabin

This really isn’t a conventional restaurant review, even though I’ve classed it as such. It falls into that grey area occupied by entrees prepared elsewhere to be heated and eaten at home.

I helped organize a staff development day for my office that took place back in January. I would have loved to go back to Fort Edmonton Park, but they didn’t have a space appropriately-sized for our group, which totaled nearly 90. After some research, we decided upon the Old Timer’s Cabin – central, with ample free parking, a good lunch selection and best of all, economically priced, it seemed like a no-brainer.

The room itself probably functions better as a dinner space than a training room, as the overhead lighting was spotty at best, but the majority of our staff found it a nice reprieve from the office environment. The location of the cabin, and the spring-like weather conditions that day, also permitted a post-lunch stroll in the bordering river valley, which afforded a lovely view of downtown Edmonton.

View from behind the Old Timer’s Cabin

Working with their catering manager was a bit harrowing, as he was definitely easier to communicate with in person as opposed to over the phone, but everything turned out fine in the end. Our lunch that day, made up of soup and build-your-own sandwiches with roasted turkey, roast beef, and plenty of vegetarian patties. The sandwiches were all right (and I am happy to report that the vegetarians and vegans were satisfied), but the soup was the star of the show – touched with the lingering aroma of fresh dill.

In organizing the retreat, I also found out that the Cabin runs a brisk catering and take-home food business – something I had absolutely no idea of before setting foot in the building. Through Sandy’s Food Service, which runs out of the kitchen (Sandy also being the catering manager of the Cabin), they produce orders of cabbage rolls (plain rice, with bacon, or with meat, priced at between $19-22 for a tray of 50) and perogies (cheddar, potato, cottage cheese, onion and sauerkraut varieties, priced at $17-20 for 50) which can be picked up anytime between 9am-5pm on weekdays. Those intending on making large orders should call ahead.

For $19, I was able to buy a frozen tray of 50 handmade cabbage rolls, a price, I realized later, that was identical to what I had paid for the tiny dish of enchiladas I purchased at d’Lish just a few weeks earlier. Of course, being completely frozen through, the cabbage rolls required a little more love in the oven (3 to 3.5 hours to be exact), but with some planning, it required no more effort than any other frozen entrée.

On Sunday afternoon, I took out the tray, covered it in a can of tomato soup and two pats of butter (as I had been directed to do), covered it with the lid, and put it in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours.

Perfectly formed cabbage rolls

I boiled some perogies to go with the cabbage rolls (talk about an easy supper!), and that was it. I remember Sandy saying that cabbage rolls done right have enough flavour on their own to bypass the inclusion of bacon, but I didn’t believe him at the time. After trying their rolls though, I am ready to concede – there was more than enough substance to make up for the lack of meat. The cabbage had softened down in the oven, and combined with the herbed rice and the tomato sauce, had a subtly sweet flavour. I easily consumed eight of them, but was thankful that enough remained for lunch the next day (they reheat very well in the microwave).

Cabbage rolls (with a side of perogies)

The next time I pass by the cabin on the hill, I will remember not only the facility itself, but the wonderful food sold in the basement of the building. I am definitely thinking of stocking at least a tray or two of the cabbage rolls in my freezer – perfect for a lazy dinner or potluck party.

Old Timer’s Cabin
9430 99 Street NW
(780) 465-2139
Pickup hours weekdays from 9am-5pm

12 thoughts on “Edmonton’s Best Kept Secret: the Old Timer’s Cabin

  1. I had no idea and I pass that cabin at least once a week. Thanks for the info. I will be going to pick up some cabbage rolls myself soon 🙂

  2. Sandy makes great cabbage rolls but also try cabbage rolls made by troika foods – they are the best! .. check their site

    They also allow pick up and sell them Sobeys and Saveon Foods..

  3. As someone who was born and raised on Sandy’s cabbage rolls and perogies I might be a little bias, however I have tried many other store bought brands as well as some home made and so far to date…nothing compares. I have tried the Troika cabbage rolls as well and couldn’t even finish one, too much garlic powder. Sandy’s Foods uses all fresh ingredients and spices, not powdered garlic and such. If you haven’t tried them…you should !!!

  4. Would like to order cabbage rolls 100 with bacon & rice and 50 with rice & hamburger if you make these kind. 25 chedder perogies & 25 saurerkraut. Do I have to pre order these? or can I just stop by to pick them up. 780-468-9999 ex#105 Thanks, Brenda Smith

  5. Stopping in there to see the place, I was immediately set upon, treated like a criminal, and called stupid repeatedly by a man named Sandy who verbally abused me to the point where I had to leave. Despite my calling him sir, and pleading with him to calm down, he continued to yell at me for being there, even as I was leaving! This man, who claimed to be the owner of the Cabin, is a lunatic. Do yourself a favor and go somewhere they treat customers with respect.

  6. This man is not the owner of the cabin and he will be gone as of July 6th  2012 he has not done our organization a favor with his attitude. Sandy was always working on contract with the organization.After this date there will be no Perogies or cabbage rolls sold out of this building

    Member of the board of Northern Alberta Pioneers and Descendants Assoc.

  7. Sandy just catered our wedding at the Old Timer’s Cabin a few weeks ago, and our guests are still raving about the amazing meal! He was very thorough with helping us with the wedding details, and we are so happy he catered our wedding. He was not the one who treated us poorly, it was the secretary of the cabin Alice, who I am going to write a letter to the association to complain about! Everyone should go to his new building to buy his delicious cabbage rolls and perogys, or hire him for your weddings!

  8. Do not have your wedding here. Alice the manager at the cabin double booked the Friday before the wedding even though we paid for it. She was complete hell to work with constantly changing what we could and could not do for decorating. We ended up not being able to use about $1000 worth of decorations that she said we could use and then she decided that she thought it was to much and would not allow us to use. She called complaining about things for a week after the wedding. She stayed at the hall the entire time during the wedding. She complained to us the entire time about different things we did during the night. This is not what you need to deal with on your wedding day. Do not book the most important day of your life here unless you want stress and double bookings

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