After co-owner and executive chef Neil McCue announced he would be departing the well-known Calgary restaurant, Whitehall, this fall, it was unclear what exactly would happen to the contemporary British concept once its main creative force left the building.
Currently undergoing subtle renovations, the space that was formerly Whitehall will reopen later this month as Elwood and the Rabbit by Calgary's Vintage Group (Vintage Chophouse, Bookers BBQ and Crab Shack, Butcher and The Baker). Though we don't know what the redesign will offer in terms of atmosphere, the restaurant's peculiar name itself draws inspiration from a 1950s film, Harvey, which sees a grown man interacting with his best friend, an imaginary rabbit.
The new chef at the helm is Dilan Draper, who is currently working in Vancouver at Mission alongside Top Chef Canada alumnus Curtis Luk. Draper has been in and out of the Calgary food scene over the past decade, most notably as the executive chef of Avec Bistro and as a contender on Chopped Canada (in which he won). Since leaving Calgary, the chef has spent time in Quebec City and Vancouver. Draper says he plans to take inspiration from the culinary styles of both (and dramatically different) cities and serve up modern, vegetable-forward comfort food with meat accents.