Grab a ‘good cuppa’ at Churchill’s British Cafe and Food Emporium

Tony Badger developed a love of food at a young age thanks to his mother and grandmothers, who he calls “tremendous cooks.”

Every Saturday, one grandmother would treat the family to meat and fruit pies, while the other specialized in bread, scones, cakes and other sweet treats. Meanwhile, his mother was “very well known for her Scotch eggs,” he says.

Badger grew up in a seaside town called Redcar on the northeast coast of England. Today, he serves some of the traditional fare of his youth at Churchill’s British Cafe and Food Emporium some 6,000 kilometers away in Saskatoon.

“No matter where you’re from, I think you look for a little comfort from back home,” he says.

Round, deep-fried balls sit on a metal tray.  A sign reads  "Scotch Eggs.  $4.99".
The sausage used in Scotch eggs varies depending on the region. (Naomi Hansen)

For instance, Badger says “our Scotch egg recipe is basically that of my mom.” He described a traditional recipe as involving a hard-boiled egg wrapped in seasoned pork sausage coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried but served cold.

Churchill finds a home in Western Canada

Badger initially opened Churchill’s in Parksville, BC, in 1997, and focused on importing British goods. He now has three locations in Western Canada: one in Edmonton and the other in Saskatoon, at 1702 Idylwyld Dr. N.

The Saskatoon location opened in 2011 and only sold imported goods at first. The cafe was added in 2019 out of a desire to expand offerings to a breakfast and lunch menu.

“We serve something called the Full Monty, which is a full English breakfast. So it includes your black pudding (blood sausage), baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and that real healthy food,” Badger adds, cheekily, “fried bread — along with bacon, sausage and eggs.”

A plate covered in bread, fried eggs, beans, sausage, mushrooms, black pudding, tomatoes and bacon.
The Full Monty breakfast platter is not for the faint of heart. (Naomi Hansen)

Breakfast is best served alongside a cup of tea. There are eight varieties on the menu to choose from, including Earl Gray and English Breakfast.

“You can get a good cup of tea made the proper way,” Badger says. “As I was taught at a very young age by everyone in my family, you certainly need to warm the teapot.”

Popular lunch dishes include their Yorkshire poutine, which combines chips (fries), curry, gravy and cheese, and their fish and chips, which are made using either cod or haddock. They also serve meat and cottage (shepherd’s) pies.

Royal fascination

Churchill’s grocery section has rows stocked with items imported from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland — everything from candies, chocolates, crisps (chips) and tea, to preserves and canned goods. Badger says over the course of a year, they bring in more than 2,000 different items, including seasonal and holiday favourites. Customers seek out flavors not found in Saskatchewan stores, like pickled onions or haggis and cracked black pepper crisps.

A man inspects grocery shelves stocked with colorful boxes, jars and other packages.  A faux "Coronation St." sign decorates the wall behind him.
When Churchill’s first opened, it only operated as a grocery store. Now, Badger imports thousands of different items from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. (Naomi Hansen)

“Our primary customer base is first and second generation Brits, but over the last year, we have been getting more Canadians coming in and enjoying our food and trying some of our grocery products,” says Badger, “So it is more of a diverse base than it’s ever been.”

Badger says he often sees a bump in business alongside any events related to the Royal Family, be it a wedding or the Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

“With the Jubilee, we had tremendous interest,” says Badger. “For some of the collectibles that we brought in, we were contacted and had to provide assurance that the case in which the products were in had not been opened, nor had the product been touched. So there were some people who did take the collect of royal souvenirs seriously.”

The front windows of a one-storey building are decorated with a British flag and a decal that reads "A taste of Britain here in Saskatoon!" The sign above the business's entryway has a logo also featuring the flag and a bulldog.
Churchill’s British Cafe and Food Emporium is located at 1702 Idylwyld Dr. N. in Saskatoon. (Naomi Hansen)

For the coronation of King Charles III on May 6, 2023, Churchill’s will be offering a Coronation Tea for three weeks leading up to the event.

“We’re going to be introducing a full afternoon tea,” says Badger. “Come on in and have a good cuppa char!”

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