Behind the Name: Hy’s Steakhouse

How the oldest restaurant in Calgary got its name

Image for Behind the Name: Hy’s Steakhouse in Calgary

For more than 65 years, Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar has offered fine steakhouse dining in a timelessly upscale atmosphere. Since opening the original Calgary location in 1955, Hy's has expanded across Canada with restaurants in Whistler, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Toronto.

The restaurant's namesake is its founder, Hy Aisenstat, born in Alberta in 1923 as the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. To support his family through hard times, he opened the first Hy’s Steakhouse in the space above a women’s clothing store in Calgary.

"Hy’s family was like most new immigrant families: relatively poor, sometimes prosperous, and like most immigrants, Hy worked hard," says Karyn Byrne, the director of marketing for Hy's.

Aisenstat may have considered other names when he began his venture as a restaurateur, but he kept it simple, allowing his legacy to live on through the restaurant's name.

"We can’t be sure if there were other possibilities, but with his gregarious personality and natural charm, we’re pretty sure it could only ever be Hy’s."