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Best of Airdrie: Hearty and homemade dishes are always on special at Jam's restaurant

Breakfast is the name of the game at Jam’s restaurant, where nearly everything on the menu, including jam, hot sauce and honey, are made from scratch.
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Brad Stefaniuk is the owner of Jam's restaurant, which specializes in creative breakfast dishes.

Breakfast is the name of the game at Jam’s restaurant, where nearly everything on the menu – including jam, hot sauce and honey – is made from scratch.

“Nothing comes out of a frozen bag,” said Brad Stefaniuk, the restaurant owner, who has been in the hospitality industry for 26 years.

The aim is to fill customers up with sizeable, homemade dishes that offer a unique twist on the morning meal.

“We do everything. You don’t leave here hungry, ever,” Stefaniuk said, adding that all of the sausage is made in-house, along with cured back bacon, and freshly-shredded potatoes.

Stefaniuk is proud of the menu he has created with his two decades of experience as a chef, although he explained customers are sometimes hesitant to jump out of the box and try something new when they visit Jam’s.

“They’re a little taken aback because things are a bit different ­– too many people are used to Denny’s and Cora’s and Eggs Oasis,” he said. “Everyone just opens up a bag of potatoes and throws them in a deep fryer.”

The culinary creativity Stefaniuk has injected into every dish has paid off, however, as community members awarded him Gold in the breakfast category of the Airdrie City View’s 2021 Best of Airdrie Readers' Choice Awards.

Jam’s also picked up Bronze in the brunch category of the competition.

“I was super happy for the Gold, because I was really angry last year, when I got beat out by A&W,” he said.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Stefaniuk and his team of staff, who were forced to shut their doors just three months after opening the business, due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It trampled us,” he admitted.

Despite the challenges the business has faced since then, Stefaniuk said he is grateful for the support of his staff during the time of turbulence. His sous-chef, in particular, pitched an idea that would allow the abundance of food to be used, while supporting the community in a time of need.

“We did a 15-course dinner for $15, just to get rid of the food,” he said. “[My sous-chef] came up with a menu with what we already had, we put it together and it was successful enough that we did it the next week, and the next week.”

Without the need for wait staff and a dwindling profit margin during extended portions of the pandemic, Stefaniuk and his sous-chef continued to work while attempting to cater to the delivery services to push their product, which he said didn’t work very well. This meant there were lots of long days to keep his dream afloat.

“I was here every day, because if I’m not, it closes,” he said.

Stefaniuk also mentioned he has had difficulty hiring and retaining staff in the current environment – something that has been a topic of conversation in the hospitality industry for months.

But now that Jam’s has been back to business as usual, Stefaniuk said that it is full speed ahead.

“We don’t ever stop,” he said, adding that he’s been approached to open a second location in a new development, which he said turned him down when he was looking for the original property.

When Stefaniuk has an ounce of spare time, he tends to his extensive garden and donates portions of the harvest to the Airdrie Food Bank. He also offers a Bob’s Burgers-themed promotion on Friday afternoons, with a portion of sales from each burger going to local charities.

“We hope to keep growing and doing things for the community,” he said.

Jam’s is located at 113, 1700 Market St. in Airdrie.