Leopard Brings Pizza and Soft Serve to Glenora
Leopard, a new restaurant in Glenora’s West Block tower that aims to provide quality pizza and soft serve to the neighbourhood, is the result of conversations that began before the pandemic and a menu perfected during the lockdown.
Cantiro, the developer of West Block, approached Andrew Borley of Woodwork and Bar Clementine about developing something in one of the commercial spots at the base of the high-rise condo, which was built on the corner of 142 Street and Stony Plain Road in 2019.
“It was the builder who wooed us here,” said Rachael Borley, Andrew’s wife and operations manager across all three restaurants. “They loved what we were doing at Woodwork and Clementine, and they were looking for a bar like Clementine to duplicate over in Glenora.”
Andrew was not interested in replicating an existing property, but he was interested in the idea of developing something new at West Block. By the time they officially signed on to the project in May 2021, the concept of pizza and ice cream had crystallized, which opened things up for them to cater to a new population.
“We are fully aware that this is the first time we have a change table in the bathroom,” Rachael said. “It is a different demographic, it’s pizza and ice cream, it’s meant for everybody. A place where the adults can have a cocktail and enjoy themselves and the kids can have a good time.”
Given their experience at Woodwork and Bar Clementine over the past couple of years, the pandemic also forced the Borleys to consider the longer-term viability of any new endeavour.
“We are so lucky and blessed to be on the other side with two restaurants still functioning,” she said. “I had no idea how hard it was to do takeout. It was hard to translate our experience into a little box. So it felt safer to go down a pizza avenue with food that is more sustainable and common for takeout.”
Rachael ate her share of pizza as Andrew worked on his recipes.
“Like everybody else, we had extra time during the pandemic, and he fell down a rabbit hole to tackle sourdough pizza for the first time,” she laughed. “He strives for excellence in everything, so he worked a long time tweaking it. Some weeks he made pizza three or four times a week to perfect the dough.”
The pizza style lent its name to the restaurant. “It is cooked in a 900-degree oven for a minute, and ‘leoparding’ is when it puffs up on the crust and gets the black dots,” she said. “That’s the goal.”
However, because the dough requires three to five days to ferment, whipping up extra dough just isn’t possible, so they will need more time to determine how much product is necessary to meet diners’ demands inside the 40-seat restaurant before Leopard offers takeout. She said the restaurant sold out of pizza two out of its first three nights.
Ice cream felt like a natural pairing with pizza. “It hearkens back to childhood and nostalgia, seeing ice cream coming out of a soft serve machine. Everybody loves it, from kids to adults.”
Similar to the process he used to develop the sourdough, Andrew also took a deep dive into ice cream before coming up with Leopard’s signature tonka bean flavour. “It’s a custard, it’s got eggs and cream and is really rich and velvety. With olive oil and sea salt, it’s like nothing you’ve ever tried,” Rachael said.
In time, Leopard will be working towards opening a patio, in addition to installing a takeout window for pizza and soft serve. But even in the first week, the team already feels embraced by the neighbourhood.
“People are really supportive of the businesses here,” she said of the area, which is also home to El Corazon and Square One Coffee. “We already feel like a part of the community.”
- For a Winter City, Edmonton has sure had a increase in the number of ice cream shops this year. The latest to open is Annie Rue in Parkallen, at 6531 111 Street.
- Calgary-based restaurant Blanco Cantina is now open in South Edmonton Common (1708 99 Street).
- The owner of Monsoon Bistro and Bar opened up Goldie’s in Telford Mews, a building for independent senior living, in Leduc, with a menu created by long-time executive chef at Sorrentino’s, Sonny Sung, who is now consulting. Goldie’s will open to the public later in the summer.
- British Pantry, with a location in Calgary and offering imported British food goods, is now open at West Edmonton Mall in Suite 2001, Phase 1.
- Phil’s latest Best Dish column highlights the fried chicken from Waffle Bird.
- Twyla featured La Petit Iza on Edmonton AM last week.
- Also from CBC, they interviewed the owners of the Windermere location of Fuwa Fuwa.
- Match Eatery & Public House inside Rogers Place is re-opening on July 18, 2022 after being closed due to the pandemic.
- Taste of Edmonton runs July 21-31, 2022. The Canadian Brewhouse and Smokehouse BBQ and Black Sheep Eatery preview the dishes diners can expect at the festival.
- K-Days runs July 22-31, 2022, and new interesting midway food offerings return, including mac and cheese soft serve, and pop rocks popcorn chicken.
- Truffle, a local cloud-based software company that digitizes some operations for restaurants, will be expanding across Canada.
- Edify put together a cocktail guide with their drink picks from around town.
- Two products from Fort Saskatchewan’s The Fort Distillery will be available at Rogers Place.
- It’s funny because it’s true: The Beaverton posted a list of the top five Edmonton patios to inhale exhaust.
- Calgary-based Cultivatr, an online farmers’ market connecting Alberta producers with customers, has expanded to Edmonton.
What I Ate
- We found a shady spot on Violet King Henry Plaza to enjoy some takeout from Envie on Friday. The southern flatbread was particularly tasty (the chili mayo had a mild kick) and we also liked the seasoning on the fries. The meal was also value-oriented, coming in at under $40 for two. We will be back!
Southern flatbread and poboy from Envie
- We grabbed some butter chicken wraps from Remedy over the weekend. I had forgotten how large the serving was; it was more than enough for two lunches!
Butter chicken wrap from Remedy
- When I start my maternity leave in a few weeks, I will miss my office’s proximity to El Fogon. I love their shredded beef and Gouda arepas.
Beef and Gouda arepa from El Fogon
- The hot weather over the weekend was also a good enough excuse to stop by Leopard to try their soft serve. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the olive oil and sea salt complemented the ice cream – well worth it.
Tonka bean soft serve from Leopard