Longtime Banff restaurateur palms over storied Ticino

House owners Erwin Widmer and his spouse, Lorraine Widmer-Carson, will serve their final meal to clients on Could 28, as they retire and hand over the keys on June 1

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After 44 years, virtually 40 tons of cheese and 130,000 fondues, Banff’s fashionable Ticino Swiss Italian Restaurant is altering palms.

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House owners Erwin Widmer and his spouse, Lorraine Widmer-Carson, will serve their final meal to clients on Could 28, as they retire and hand over the keys on June 1.

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“It’s been such a privilege to share my Swiss roots and lift a household in Banff. There have been many ups and downs, however I wouldn’t change a factor,” says Erwin Widmer. “All good issues should come to an finish.”

As is the restaurant, Widmer is an establishment within the mountain city, having arrived from his native Switzerland within the late Nineteen Sixties as a skier and traveller. He labored for Canadian Mountain Holidays for 2 seasons, after which was the meals and beverage supervisor throughout the grand opening of Banff Park Lodge in 1978. He even slung trays of beer and pizza in two eating places that preceded the unique Ticino on Wolf Avenue.

He labored briefly as a information for Mike Wiegele’s heli-skiing firm earlier than shopping for Ticino in 1979 from one other native legend, George Schwarz, co-owner with brother Andre Schwarz of the Publish Resort in Lake Louise. They first opened Ticino in 1974 at 204 Wolf Avenue. After shopping for it, Widmer operated there till relocating in 1995 to 415 Banff Avenue.

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The household will stay concerned locally with son Matthew and son-in-law Keith Robinson proudly owning Canmore’s Wild Life Distillery, daughter Angela Helie with Afterglow Life-style Teaching, and son Phillip being a mountain information. Widmer-Carson is a neighborhood advocate, writer and founding father of Grassroots Gratitude, which runs management workshops.

“We’re a going concern,” Widmer-Carson says jokingly.

Historial photos
of Ticino staff from 1977.
Ticino restaurant employees and proprietor in 1977 on the unique Wolf Avenue location in Banff. Left to proper: servers Jacques (from France), Doug Tappin, Silvia Albrecht, Erwin Widmer, Jim (from Ottawa), Peter Hotan, with kitchen supervisor Michelina DiManno, proprietor George Schwarz, chef Albert Moser, dishwasher Ron and chef Juergen Specht. Courtesy, the Widmer household

One of many logos of Ticino is a penchant for internet hosting — usually free of charge — alpine sports activities groups, mountaineers, athletes and artists, diplomats and music stars visiting Banff for coaching, competitions or performances. Names which have graced the eaterie embrace Swiss ski champions Michela Figini and Maria Walliser, and climber Reinhold Messner, who made the primary solo ascent of Mount Everest.

“Everybody is aware of Ticino Restaurant. It’s been a staple in our neighborhood for over 40 years,” says Banff Mayor Corrie DiManno, who’s the niece of unique Ticino kitchen supervisor, Michelina DiManno.

The family-run restaurant is well-known for its conventional menu of veal, venison, beef, bison and lamb, however can be fashionable for probably the most traditional of Swiss dishes — fondues.

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“We in all probability serve eight fondues per day on common, 11 months a yr,” notes Widmer-Carson.

Over 44 years, that works out to greater than 130,000 fondues ready within the Ticino kitchens and near 40 tons of genuine Swiss cheese grated, melted, served and savoured.

“Meaning 260,000 clients who’ve loved 1000’s of litres of wine, stimulating conversations giant and small. Romance, journey, excellent news and unhealthy,” says Widmer-Carson.

“Erwin’s hospitality is gracious, welcoming. It’s old-school. He’s not about quantity, excessive noise or excessive site visitors. It’s about sitting down, having a very good dinner, consuming slowly and having a very good time . . . It’s a wealthy legacy.”

The brand new possession group has not been introduced.

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