Jack of Hearts Bistro, Calgary

Doesn’t this look better than your desk?

Jack of Hearts Bistro, Calgary

Doesn’t this look better than a sandwich at your desk?

Jack of Hearts Bistro, Calgary

This definitely looks better than anything at my desk.

All of the above is courtesy of Jack of Hearts Bistro, a comfortable, sunny spot in the beautifully restored heritage Lorraine Building in the Beltline.

Jack of Hearts Bistro, CalgaryGraphics guru David told me about this hidden gem, run by a father-son duo, for weekday breakfasts, lunch and catering.

The blackboard menu has a small section of breakfast items, large salads, and paninis ($7.95) that come with a side salad or soup. Every day, there’s a soup special ($4.95), a featured dish and a healthy pick.

David raved about the soups. But at first, I was leery of the day’s special. I’m not a lentils person; I don’t love the thick, mealy texture. But boy, I enjoyed Jack’s lentil soup. I know this may sound weird but I liked the light-hand on the lentils, and an even-hand on the seasonings. A well-played hand, Jack. Well played.

I also went with the day’s feature of a Philly cheesesteak ($15.95) done completely differently than I’ve seen before. Four thick pieces of more roast than steak lay on an open flatbread, smothered in a creamy, cheesy sauce.

My mouth was happy with a sharp zing from the hot banana peppers and a mountain of crispy fried onions.

Jack of Hearts Bistro, Calgary

The $15.95 was a tad high for my weekday budget but to be fair, it was the exception as most items are just shy of $10.

I enjoy independent places like this where Jack Shane (the dad) and Justin (the son) are obviously passionate and proud of their venture, and call their regulars by name.

Jack of Hearts also offers coffee service to offices — they boast of “the best single estate coffees from around the world, both as an agent and a distributor,” catering for events, and private parties in their bistro.

Jack of Hearts Bistro, 620-12th Ave. SW, Calgary, (403) 266-0005. Open Monday to Friday 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed weekends.

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