For 28 years, Glenn Simon and his wife Jessie have run Glenn’s Family Restaurant on Red Deer’s Gasoline Alley – the popular food and fuel stop for 40,000 cars that drive the QEII every day. You’ll know Glenn’s as soon as you see by the really big teapot up on top – an homage to his dad’s café and a sign of what you’ll find inside (spoiler: more than 200 kinds of loose tea!). You’ll also find consistently great food, a teapot shop and lots of locals. We asked Glenn five questions about tea, his restaurant and his city.
HOW MANY KINDS OF TEA DO YOU HAVE?
We carry 220 kinds of loose-leaf tea by the Metropolitan Tea Company – a Canadian Company out of Don Mills. The teas come from around the world, are all-natural and contain no preservatives. We serve them all in the restaurant – along with a teapot-shaped tea-infused cookie – and also sell them in tins for home. We have a “sniffer wall” where customers can smell them all and my sister Cindy runs a boutique next door with a collection of 400 teapots from all over the world.
We have black tea – which is fully fermented, green tea – which is only partially fermented, Oolong, Rooibos, white tea and herbal teas – made from fruits or bark. There’s a book at every table all about tea with lots of information and stories.
WHAT’S THE MOST POPULAR?
All the green teas have lots of antioxidants and are very popular – Rooibos is a South African red bush tea made from cedar trees whose needles turn bright red when dried. It’s caffeine-free, packed with antioxidants and makes a great iced tea because it gets richer the longer it steeps. Our Provence tea is also very popular – made with lavender, rosehips and black currants.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE?
I like the Provence and Long Island strawberry green tea.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU RUN GLENN’S?
My wife Jessie and I have had a restaurant for 35 years and have been in this building for 28. My dad had Cy’s Koffee House on the highway in the late 60s and used a teapot logo – I kept the idea for our big teapot from him. We also have a waitress and a cook that have been with us almost that whole time.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN IN RED DEER?
We spend a lot of time at Birch Bay on Gull Lake where we have a cabin. We have seven grandchildren from ages 5 to 18 and they love it there – swimming in the summer and playing hockey on the ice all winter long.