Behind the Name: Calgary's Rouge Restaurant

How this iconic Calgary restaurant got its name

Why is it called Rouge? You guessed it—because it's red! But with a history that dates back to the 1890s, there's more to the story.

Renowned chefs and owners Olivier Reynaud and Paul Rogalski combined their culinary expertise in 2001 and opened their restaurant as The Cross House Restaurant, offering fine dining inside the historic Cross House in Inglewood. But unfortunately, the name was often confused with another nearby establishment.

"There was some unforeseen confusion for customers between us and The Dean House, as both buildings were painted grey and the location descriptions were very similar: grey historical house, next to a bridge when entering Inglewood," says Rogalski.

With guests showing up at the wrong location for their reservations, it was clear that something had to change. A new name was desperately needed, and the answer came from the building's history.

Built in 1891, The Cross House was home to Alfred Ernest Cross, a prominent Calgary entrepreneur and politician. Cross owned one of the largest early ranches in Alberta, founded the Calgary Brewing and Malting Company, and was one of the "Big Four" investors in the Calgary Stampede.

As one of the city's oldest residences, the house is recognized as a historical landmark and preserves the unique architectural style of that time period.

Reynaud and Rogalski found one especially interesting fact when they were digging through the history: it wasn't always grey.

"A complete historical overhaul of The Cross House revealed that the original colour of the house was CP red, and that is all we needed to find our new name. It was no surprise that the confusion between brands instantly stopped.”

The award-winning Rouge Restaurant is one of Canada's premiere dining destinations, and easy to find in its red Victorian-style heritage home. Rouge is currently open for patio dining starting at 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and they also offer Rouge@Home meals to pick up and enjoy at home.