A gold winner in the 2023 Readers’ Choice awards and a top 10 Restaurant Guru 2022 pick, Thirsty Rooster is turning heads and drawing crowds. The establishment has gone through several recent evolutions; the current iteration driven by Michael Paruby’s vision and experience has quickly proven to be a hit. Customers come for the 24 beers on tap, curated wine list, and handcrafted cocktails and stay for the classic pub favourites and signature smoked meats. All this happens in a family friendly atmosphere where guests can relax and have a great time.
Paruby was asked to step in and rebrand the eatery. He did so as the pandemic restrictions had just lifted, providing a real opportunity to grow the audience of the store.
“The building itself had changed concepts a number of times since 2019. Thirsty Rooster was the fourth concept,” Paruby shares. “I was approached to put a fresh face on the brand.”
He started in March 2022, creating menu items, cocktails, events, and specials that turned Thirsty Rooster into St. Albert’s ultimate hang-out spot.
“We are the community restaurant where people can come and have great food and a great night out,” Paruby smiles. “One of the highlights is our in-house smoker. We have an awesome smoked meat selection, but we have also added lighter menu items like shrimp tacos and fresh salads. This means you can come for a great meal with friends or stop by for a healthy power lunch. Everything is prepared fresh and on site. We don’t even have a microwave because heat-and-eat is not the style of food we make.”
The fun doesn’t stop with the food.
“We offer a great nightlife!” Paruby continues. “We have DJs on Friday night and live music on Saturdays.”
He’s especially proud of the daily specials, which include Monday’s smokehouse platters and beer pitchers, Tuesday’s pizza discounts, Wednesday’s half price wings, Thursday’s half price bottles of wine, Friday’s power hour, Saturday’s sangria pitchers and Sunday’s half priced drinks all day.
Paruby says, “Our team really bought into the idea of what we do and a lot of them have been here since Thirsty Rooster started. It’s a phenomenal team. They really care about the guest experience.”
That team includes Head Chef Kendall Bouvette who designed the menu, including the delicious brunch. Fans of Food Network will recognize Chef Bouvette from her time on Chopped Canada.
When Paruby and the team are not in the eatery, you’ll find them supporting the community. Watch for them at Rock n’ August where they are gold sponsors this year. Thirsty Rooster’s smoker will be on site Saturday, and their venue is hosting the official event’s afterparty.
Paruby says, “I’m very thankful to the team, to Chef Bouvette, and our assistant manager Justin Akkerman. Everyone works very hard to make all this possible. The day we got the call about winning the Readers’ Choice award was just phenomenal. We had just launched the new menu. Cocktails and new food items were selling on the first day – and then we got the call saying all the hard work we put in during the past year paid off!”
He concludes, “Looking forward, we are excited about even more community engagement, drawing in crowds for delicious foods and a great experience, and working on our development of merch.”