New Look on our Website! Big up to – @UnlimitedBS + @CandyKoated

Our updated website is up and running.  But not without the absolutely awesome and nerdy talents of Brenda Sargeant from @UnlimitedBS Website Design, and the amazing pictures from Candice Nadeau at Candy Koated Photography & Design Studio. These two ladies are *killin* it in Central Alberta, so be sure to check out their respective websites or find them on Social Media!

Not only have we updated our look, but we’ve also added the “BOOK A TABLE” button. So now you can go directly online to our Yelp Reservations, book your table at Cilantro and Chive. We strongly encourage reservations, so this is a quick and easy way for us to save you the best seat in the house.

We’re currently working on a feature for our guests to Purchase Cilantro and Chive Gift Cards, and send them to someone online. This has been something our guests have been asking for, so we look forward to getting that up and running soon! Plus our new Spring Menu is currently in development. As when we launch, you’ll be able to come right to our website to check out the new eats!

So thank you for checking out our website, and supporting local businesses like ours; including these wonderfully talented ladies:

Brenda Sargeant | | Text or Call: 403.550.9142

Candice Nadeau | | 403.505.1703

And if some of you didn’t know, my name is Jason and I’m the Restaurant Manager here at Cilantro and Chive. Please don’t hesitate to contact me about any questions of any kind! Better yet if you stop in, please ask for me and say hello! My wife and I are just about to move to Lacombe, and we both love to meet new people and can’t wait to be an even bigger part of this incredible community.


Jason Burns

Restaurant Manager

Cilantro and Chive


Cilantro + Chive Community Causes February

February’s Community Cause

PES Playground Redevelopment

The Friends of PES Fundraising Society have embarked on an exciting journey to redevelop the Ponoka Elementary School Playground. The existing playground has deteriorated and become a safety hazard to those who continue to utilize it. The playground redevelopment project will replace the old playground equipment that is scheduled to be removed with new equipment centered around the modernized DWMS site that is fully accessible and age and skill-level appropriate for the community to enjoy. The Friends of PES Fundraising Society, is committed to “developing an exceptional playground and learning space for the PES Community and the greater community of Ponoka & surrounding areas”. They have been planning and fundraising for this project since Spring 2014 with more than $10,000 already raised. With costs expected to be more than $750,000, partnering with our corporate community and local, county and provincial governments will be critical to create this incredible play space for our children and their families to enjoy for years to come. They are hopeful that active building of this project will begin in the Fall of 2015.

People of all ages, abilities and backgrounds will be able to enjoy these spaces for many years to come.

There are two types of people

Last Friday we had a guest in the restaurant with her kids and had a less than favorable time. They wanted “nothing” done about it and every option given by our staff was quickly turned down . Even though there wasn’t anything we could do or that they wanted done, we still discounted their entire bill. 15 minutes after they left we received a negative review to our facebook page expressing their displeasure. They even signed up for TripAdvisor that evening to give us a negative review.

Today we had a guest in who had ordered a steak sandwich. The steak was overdone and was brought to our attention. Like the situation Friday, we gave a discount without being asked to do so. The difference today, was that this guest was upset that we gave her a discount as it was ‘unnecessary’. I assured her that it was our error and our way of attempting to make it right. Instead of taking the discount, she gave us the money back (and then some) to donate to our Community Causes Campaign.

While we try and please everyone who comes through our doors, we simply aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Today I was touched by one guests understanding and unnecessary generosity. I’ll say it again, we truly have the best guests around!


tripadviosr upset lady

Cilantro + Chive Community Cause November

It is only fitting that we announce November’s Community Cause…

65 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron

The squadron has a current fundraising project to move to a new building.
Cadet numbers have been growing over the past few years and their existing building will outgrow their needs.
In addition to this, their current building needs several upgrades which they are not in a position to fund at this time.
The projected timeline is to move at the end of this training year (June 2015).
The Air Cadet program has had a significant impact on the youth in the community, with young people aged 12-18 attending the program from Ponoka, Lacombe, Rimbey, Stettler, Blackfalds and other surrounding areas. These cadets learn leadership, citizenship, teamwork, aviation, marksmanship, survival, fitness, discipline and respect. In addition, they also have optional activities such as; band, biathlon, effective speaking, sports teams, survival challenges and drill teams.
They have a significant impact on the veterans and support all of these important causes.
They currently they have 57 cadets, with weekly new registrations.

65 squadron doing our part to support the poppy fund campaign for our Legion. Well done cadets!!!
penny pic 7Photo Credit: Penny Moffitt Photography

cilantro + chive Community Causes

cilantro + chive Community Causes


In November of 2014 cilantro + chive will initiate our own Community Causes Campaign.

Every month we will showcase a new and worthy Community Cause.

$.50 from every burger sale will go towards the selected cause for the entirety of the month.

We want to hear from you if your group or organization is looking for assistance.

This is open to:

Non-profit organizations & groups with a project or funding goal that encourages community growth.  Preference will be given to fundraising efforts to benefit children and youth in our community, and groups and organizations with causes that will benefit the greater community.

Together let’s start the process:

Send an email to with a subject line of Community Causes.

Provide a description of the group/organization/charity you are with

Specific details on the project/initiative you are fundraising for

Goals and timelines for your fundraiser

Why we should choose your cause

Your contact information


There will be an opportunity for in restaurant advertising to promote your cause, be prepared to provide print materials/logos etc. that can be used to educate our guests about your cause.


Cilantro and Chive will honour the $.50 burger sale contribution up to a monthly maximum of $500.




community causes banner ad

Ponoka Chamber Awards 2014

As is the norm every year, this year was no different. The list of nominees are full of big names in the business world that do amazing things for the community and their customers. The contenders in each category deserve a huge pat on the back and the winners (in bold) a big ol’ high five.




ATB Financial

Legacy Ford Ponoka

Sommer Home Hardware & Building Supplies



Battle River Insurance – The Cooperators

Bob Hepp & Company

Cilantro & Chive



Classic Granite Works

Rip ‘n’ Ronnies Fitness

Steel Magnolias



Cervus Equipment

Don Laing Trailers




Alberta Flares Energy Services

Phase 3 Electric

Town & Country Supplies



Calnash Ag Events Centre

Klaglahachie Fine Arts

Ponoka Community Golf Club



Sherry Gummow – Busted Ladies Lingerie

Andrew Middleton – The Brick

Keith Stebner – Ponoka First Call Towing



Sharon Beaubien – Altitude Laser Spa

Trevor Feragen – Legacy Ford Ponoka

Sharna Sullivan – Leland Hotel


ponoka chamber poster 2014

Kind Words

We get requests to help support a variety of causes. While we try and support as many as we can, the ones that mean the most to us are the ones we support that don’t include our name.

The ones that do not need corporate recognition. The ones that just need a hand up. The ones we wish we could do more for but are happy to have been able to help, even for one night. And then they somehow find out and drop off sweet cards. Someones cutting onions in the back and my eyes are watering.

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to give what we can. kind cardR.K.

Local “Mom & Pop”

The following is a review posted to our facebook page, tripadvisor, yelp & urbanspoon sites on Saturday, July 19th and the response that followed.

mom and pop shop censored

I do greatly appreciate the time you took to come down from Edmonton to check us out. However, your review on our facebook page leads me to believe that you have access to our facebook page which would show you our hours of our operation. Along with our website, twitter, tripadvisor and urbanspoon pages. All available online from the comfort of your home, without having to make the trip to Ponoka to find this out.

I am deeply sorry that we missed out on the opportunity to look after you and countless others that have stopped in on a Saturday or Sunday to only find out that we are closed. I have made every effort I have available to me to ensure that this is public information and do not wish for our hours, or lack of, to leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth.

I am torn between how to continue this conversation. On one hand Iwant to address the points you have made. On the other hand I want to let you know what it is we truly do here.

What do we do?

We do operate a catering company out of Cilantro + Chive. This is how the restaurant came to be. By luck and a whim in 2008 we catered a couple of events for close friends and family and then it took off. Within one year and zero advertising we booked a solid Christmas season.  With a fulltimejob, we juggled many more events and struggled with the opportunity to focus on catering. We looked for venues to get in to fulltime catering and after a couple of failed opportunities, this opportunity came open. We opened the restaurant in 2012 to coincide with what we had already been established.

In the beginning of May 2014 we found ourselves at a fork in the road. With a looming staff shortage and numerous catered events on the books, I was left in a hard place, with 3 options.

1. Cancel all catering events and shut down what had brought us to this point and focus on the restaurant.

2. Close the restaurant and focus solely on catering.

3. Try and juggle Saturday restaurant with Saturday weddings and hope for the best.

It was a big decision that was not easy. I did not want to jeopardize anything that we had built here. I did not want to alter the menu and bring in more quick serve items. I wanted to remain true to our local suppliers and local support that has been with us since the day we opened.

In June we made the decision to close Saturday & Sunday and open Monday to Friday.

Some side notes to your comments.

Start up? Well, we are no longer in the honeymoon phase of our operation. We can’t giggle and laugh off any of our errors or mistakes.

The restaurant has been open for over 2 and half years now. 2 and half. That is an eternity in an industry like this. High staff turnover, market vulnerability and disgruntled guests have jeopardized countless other operations. In an industry where 75% of independent operations fail in the first year, and if you’re lucky enough to make it through to the next year another 75% + of those’ lucky ones’ fail by the end of year two. (depending on whose figures you read) If you follow that math, less than 7% of independent restaurants opening today will be open in 3 years.  Time will only tell if we can become ‘legendary’ and beat those odds.

I have seen a handful of restaurants already fold in central Alberta do to a shortage of labor. You could argue that if you paid more you’d have staff. In theory yes. I could pay someone $25 an hour or greater to cook your meal. Are you going to help offset that expense for an additional $10 for the steak sandwich you ordered? I can’t answer for you, but I probably wouldn’t.

Mom and Pop shop? This hurts. It really hurts.

One hand I could be more proud to be a Mom & Pop shop. I couldn’t be more proud to be the one who is here two hours after we closed to fix the toilet. The one that is here two hours before we open looking after the orders and the inventory, scheduling, marketing, juggling financial decisions, being hands on and looking after our guests and honestly meaning it when I say ‘Thank you’ to each and everyone who has come through our doors. 80+ hour work weeks aren’t for everyone.

Mom and Pop shop?

My mother has had one heck of a run with her ‘Mom and Pop’ shop. She has been in business for well over 25 years. I’ve been on the back end watching her come home through her ups and downs. She is still in business today.

My father had one heck of a run at his ‘Mom and Pop’ shop. It didn’t have the best results. I couldn’t be more proud of him for his ambitions and dedication to what he did. Again I was on the back end of seeing him come home through his ups and downs.

Now with a son of my own, this is where business and personal meet. I hope years down the road my son is proud of me and the decisions I have made.

Mom and Pop shop? I am more than comfortable with being a mom and pop shop. Somewhere you can come in and feel comfortable. Get to know who is behind the counter, in the kitchen and talk to the owner. Decisions can be made quickly and effectively.

I am deeply sorry for the time you wasted to try us out. To try and give us your hard earned money. I am sorry. I wish we could be open 7 days a week, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love what I do and creating menus and creating dishes and love the reward of satisfied guests at the end of the day. That is what I live for. That is why we opened.

I cannot be everything to everyone. This is who we are as an organization and these are our values.

All the best on your trip through Ponoka and central Alberta.



What is weird?

We get a wide range of responses to our restaurant concept.

We have guests who make the commute from Edmonton, Sylvan Lake & Red Deer almost religiously. Then on the other hand we have those who dislike us. Whether, they don’t like the concept, the decor or the menu, I understand there maybe a variety of reasons. We’re not everyone’s cup of tea and I’m alright with that.

The other day I read the following review posted to our Facebook page…Screenshot online review w alterations

It took some time and a couple of rereads for the comment to sink in and for me to absorb it.

“Weird food”?

What is “weird food”?

What is ‘weird’?

Is my understanding of ‘weird’ different from others idea of what ‘weird’ is?

While we have some staples on our menu; Alberta Beef Burger, New York Steak Sandwich, Chicken Wings, Chicken Strips… most of which you’d find on any menu in central Alberta. So I wouldn’t consider those items weird.

However, we also have some unique menu items (I wouldn’t call them weird). We have Lamb, Elk, Bison & Trout, (all locally sourced) in a variety of menu items. I guess that might be considered weird… We even have Duck on our menu.

While some may think that Elk, Bison, Trout & Duck are ‘weird’, they are all indigenous to this land we call home.

I wouldn’t say our food is ‘weird’, but what might be natural to me, may be considered ‘weird’ to someone else.

Well, to this guest, we have weird food and I am alright with that. I like our menu. I like our restaurant. I like our theme. I like our staff. I like our local suppliers, who supply us with quality products that come from our back yard and their hard work.

I guess I like ‘weird’…