We have about 1,700 square feet of kitchen space. A good working environment for our staff was important to Chef Downey from the start. Like all high-performing professionals, they need room to work, but also room to rest and think. Unlike many restaurants today, we didn’t want to maximize dining space at the expense of our staff. Chef Downey often talks about the people he wants building their career at The Butternut Tree. Much of the restaurant experience he hopes to cultivate is steeped in what he calls Canadian hospitality. He wants a restaurant full of people who are passionate about sharing. People who are inviting, friendly, and lovely to interact with. This is the foundation for everything else. There are no titles or names stitched on our uniforms. We made a deliberate decision to try and do away with hierarchies and to be inclusive among staff. Everyone is equally committed to delivering the experience that we set out to provide to our patrons. By removing the traditional titles that you typically see at restaurants, we’ve been able to replace them with a shared responsibility and accountability to our guests.
The crosscut of The Butternut Tree hearkens back to summers spent daydreaming under the butternut tree in grandma Grace’s garden and gathering fruits, vegetables and wild plants in Sackville, NB. The tree rings symbolize Canada’s diverse bounty of natural ingredients—hidden in plain sight—waiting to be explored and shared with present guests and future generations. The tree is a symbol of stability. We want to be part of the community for a long time and for that you have to build strong roots. The illustrations remind us that the story of Canadian food is a process of discovery. Reminiscent of the notes that Chef Downey has taken over the years, we wanted to share our intimate thoughts of what the Butternut Tree is about and our exciting discoveries.
We have the perfect place for you to propose. We have a seat for anyone curious about the process and our food. We have a room for those who want to enter, dine, and leave with complete privacy. We have space for your groups and for just the two of you. We have 58 seats in the restaurant with over 2,500 square feet of dining space. There is something to be said about having enough personal space to create your own comfortable, intimate experience. We want everyone to feel special and every seat has a view in the restaurant. The Canadian landscape is vast and invites exploration. We want to translate this experience of space into our restaurant.
The Butternut Tree is situated on 110 Street, overlooking the river valley and the Alberta Legislature grounds. The location is perfect because a) the legislative grounds are symbolic of the values of our great country and b) the river valley is a vast bountiful symbol for our environment and our land. The restaurant is designed to have a wide, panoramic view of both the grounds and the valley. Being central and accessible was very important to us. Parking downtown can be a challenge, so being just off the well beaten path allowed us to be creative with parking. There is an Impark lot adjacent to our building where we will be covering our patrons’ parking fees. We also have a number of heated underground stalls available in our building. On-street parking after 6 pm is free as well, but there is more than enough to accommodate with the surface lots and our underground stalls.