Popular Hungarian restaurant in the heart of Calgary to close after 24 years

A popular restaurant in downtown Calgary, which has been a cultural pillar for over two decades will soon close. Taylor Braat has more on the long-running restaurant and its impact.

Twenty-four years is just a short stint, is what the owner of a popular Calgary Hungarian restaurant jokes about as the vibrant traditional spot it is set to close soon.

Janos Jonas, along with his wife Rosa, has been serving Calgarians authentic Hungarian food at Jonas’ Restaurant, and Janos says he is happy to have done so.

“Lots of happiness. We are very fortunate about the City of Calgary,” he said.

The couple announced they will close their doors late last year, and since then, they’ve been getting busier and busier as people realize they won’t get the chance to taste their food again.

It’s an ending many were hoping would never come, including Janos and Rosa.

“[We’re not] getting younger and younger, and our body is telling [us] it’s time. It’s time to retire and close,” Janos said.

They have a long history of making good food and ran a restaurant in Hungary before moving to Calgary in 1997. They followed Jano’s sister to Canada.

Soon after, they opened Jonas’ Restaurant in downtown Calgary in 1999.

Bringing their recipes from the European country, and making a few tweaks, their food has become a favourite among many.

“We are very proud of it, but it’s only about the customers because they’re so loyal,” Janos said.

Janos Jonas laughs amid an interview in the kitchen of Jonas' Restaurant in Calgary

Janos Jonas laughs amid an interview in the kitchen of Jonas’ Restaurant in Calgary. (Taylor Braat, CityNews photo)

CityNews spoke with a family that was dining inside the restaurant, and they say they have come to Jonas’ Restaurant for 20 years. They’re in disbelief that it will soon come to an end.

“We each have our own favourites. The boys typically go for the schnitzel,” said a mother sitting with her sons.

However, one of her sons says they’ll keep on coming back in one way or another.

“We’re just going to come for dinner on Sundays at their house,” he said.

Janos says closing the restaurant is a bittersweet feeling.

“Our customers are so nice. They say we are so sad and so happy for you guys,” he said.

While the restaurant has received coverage and positive reviews over the years, it wasn’t always been easy.

“Good times, very good times, and slow down, the economy slowed down,” Janos said.

With the restaurant now up for sale, their dream is to see another Hungarian or Eastern European restaurant open in Calgary.

They’ll continue serving their traditional food until Spring when they will set out on a much-deserved retirement

Janos laughs and says they will be “Resting …. don’t do anything” for their retirement.

If you’d like to try their food or dine in again, make sure to get a reservation, as the restaurant fills up in advance.

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