Behind the Name: Calgary's Lil' Empire Burger

How this popular Calgary burger joint got its name.

When Lil’ Empire Burger made its debut in 2018, owners Karen Kho and Dave Sturies had already established themselves as household names within Calgary’s culinary community. 

After providing Calgarians with an amazing array of delicious deli fare, locally-sourced charcuterie, full animal butchery, and on occasion, smash burgers, the powerhouse duo behind Empire Provisions announced that they had found a new home inside of the Annex Ale Project

Since then, both the Annex Soda location and their second location inside Made by Marcus in Bridgeland have become two of the city’s premiere comfort food destinations, where in addition to their signature smash burgers, they’re also serving up a creative selection of hotdogs, dressed up fries, spicy Korean chicken sandwiches, and more.

“Lil’ Empire Burger is the sister restaurant to our flagship restaurant Empire Provisions. Our concept stemmed from the wildly popular smash burgers we would create as a weekend feature in the café,” explains Kho. 

According to Kho, there was a long list of contenders for the name, but in the end she says the duo wanted a name that also paid homage to where the concept originated. 

Lil’ Empire Burger’s Bridgeland location is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. while the Annex location is open Tuesday to Thursday from 12 p.m.-8 p.m, Friday-Saturday from 12 p.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Orders can be made online for pick up.