The Fence & Post
When owner Chef Chris Hartman decided to open a restaurant, his vision included priorities like “seasonally driven”, “made from scratch”, “locally sourced”, and “approachable fine dining”. He knew the town was ready for this kind of concept when the Fence & Post opened in May of 2017.
Located in Historic Downtown Cochrane
Entering the inviting space, you’ll find subtle nods to Cochrane’s pioneer history. Building material includes reclaimed wood from a family farm, brick and whitewashed boards. There’s a large portrait of Senator Matt Henry Cochrane, one of the founding members of the Cochrane Ranche, and vintage plates adorn the walls.
This prairie history is carefully woven into the menus as well. Chef Chris took inspiration from the cuisine brought to Alberta by the pioneers. The settlers in this area would have come from around the globe – Japan, China, India, the Ukraine, France, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The diversity of cuisines was tied together by the local seasonal ingredients readily available to early 20th century Alberta settlers: Tart rhubarb & delicate asparagus in the spring, ripe tomatoes & juicy berries in the summer, versatile pumpkin and squash in the fall, and remarkably sweet root vegetables & preserves in the winter.
Culinary menu items house made from scratch
What does this diverse inspiration look like at the Fence & Post? You can trust it’s delicious! Choose from plump dumplings made with creamy ricotta cheese & Swiss chard, flavourful braised beef served with roasted root vegetables, tender duck breast with a beetroot spaetzle, and delicate house-made french macarons. Many of the menu items are made from scratch. They cure their own meats (the bacon on the BLT is life changing), bake fresh bread, churn real ice cream, and create their own pickles and preserves.
Chef Chris sources as many local ingredients as possible: Leffler Farm Carrots from Coaldale, Greidanus Honey from High River, and fresh herbs & summer veggies from their very own garden in Cochrane. The beverage program celebrates Alberta’s burgeoning craft beverage industry. With over 125 craft breweries in Alberta, there’s always an Alberta beer on tap to sip on. The creative craft cocktails feature spirits from distilleries in Cochrane, Banff & Canmore. The house Caesar is a must try,featuring gin from Cochrane’s very own Krang Spirits, the ultra-hip Walter’s Caesar Mix, house-made pickled beans and house-smoked beef jerky.
Food and Wine Philosophy
The Fence & Post has succeeded in making fine dining approachable. A typical night brings in a diverse crowd: Couples having a romantic 5-course dinner paired with wine, family groups enjoying a nice dinner out, and friends sitting in the lounge nibbling on bar snacks (we highly recommend the cheesy poufs), and sipping on a local beer. Saturday & Sunday mornings you can also pop in for brunch. You’ll find classics like Eggs Benedict, chocolate – banana french toast, and the French inspired Croque Monsieur. True foodies keep an eye out for coveted tickets to the supper club. Once a month, chef Chris creates a menu theme, a guest sommelier joins the party, and eager foodies delight in a surprise menu with beverage pairings.
The Fence & Post is truly a food lover’s dream, with fresh local ingredients, inspired recipes made from scratch, and a cozy, inviting atmosphere. Whether it’s a special occasion, a Wednesday night that calls for good wine, or a craving for brunch on a sunny weekend morning, the Fence & Post is a destination restaurant well worth a visit.
Callandra Caufield – Guest Journalist
Jacquie Matechuk – Photographer