Sneak Peek: A First Look at the New CHARCUT Restaurant at Alt Hotel University District

February 21, 2024

Have you heard? CHARCUT is officially coming to University District! The newest CHARCUT location will open its doors this spring inside the recently opened Alt Hotel University District Calgary. Read on to learn more about the award-winning chefs behind this great Calgary gem and what you can expect at the newest location.

The Story Behind CHARCUT

CHARCUT is a beloved Calgary roast house founded by Connie DeSousa and John Jackson. CHARCUT first opened in 2010 at the Le Germain Hotel on 9th Avenue, and appeared in Air Canada’s enRoute Magazine as one of the ‘Top 10 New Restaurants in Calgary” that same year. 

With house butchered meats, seasonal menus, thoughtfully created cocktails, local craft beers and an open kitchen, CHARCUT has certainly put Calgary on the culinary map.

In addition to CHARCUT, DeSousa and Jackson also opened sister restaurants in Calgary’s East Village, Charbar in the Simmons Building in 2015 and Chix Eggshop inside the East Village Alt Hotel in 2019. 

They also have a fully operational butcher shop located in their Le Germain location. Started during the pandemic and due to an abundance of product as a result of health restrictions, Jackson and DeSousa decided to go back to their roots by preparing homemade cured meats, charcuterie boards, various cuts of Alberta beef, sausage, cheeses, bacon, signature olive oil and more. 

Meet Co-Owners, Connie and John

Connie and John, the co-owners of CHARCUT, have mastered the art of working together as partners having opened many critically acclaimed restaurants together. 


Pictured above is Connie Desousa and John Jackson. Image courtesy of CHARCUT.

Connie graduated from culinary school at the top of her class and soon after met her mentor, John Jackson. The two instantly knew they would be business partners and started making plans to make a mark in Calgary’s culinary scene. Today Connie is one of Canada’s most celebrated chefs, who you might recognize from her appearances on Top Chef Canada, Top Chef All Stars and most recently a judge for the Food Network’s Fire Masters. 

“My passion for cooking is rooted from my parents. My mom and I used to love watching cooking shows together and immediately ran to the kitchen trying to recreate whatever was on the TV,” says DeSousa. “I always thought I was going to be a professional ballerina, but turns out cooking was my real passion and I have loved every day that I’ve spent as a chef.”

For a few years, Connie moved to the United States to work as a chef for various restaurants, but later returned to Calgary to start her CHARCUT adventure alongside John. 

John started cooking as a teenager out of necessity. The youngest son to a single mom of three kids, working multiple jobs and studying at university, John did what he could to help out. Eventually, he discovered a true passion for cooking and knew that it would be a huge driver in his life. Little did he know that he would become one of the top chefs and restaurant owners in the city. 

“I decided to study culinary arts at SAIT, where coincidentally Connie later studied. I hired her right after she graduated from SAIT and the rest is history,” says Jackson. “It’s great to look back and reflect on how far we have come as a team.”

Introducing: Connie and John’s Pizza

In addition to CHARCUT, Charbar and Chix Eggshop, Connie and John have also recently opened a new concept, Connie and John’s Pizza. With two locations, in Marda Loop and East Village, Connie and John’s is known as, ‘pizza you want to eat.’

In addition to CHARCUT, Connie and John’s Pizza will also operate out of the Alt Hotel Calgary University District. An exciting addition for residents of U/D and guests of the Alt Hotel.

The third Connie and John’s Pizza will be located inside the Alt Hotel in U/D, with a walk-up take out window accessible from Retail Main Street. the hotel lobby.

Everything to Expect at the New CHARCUT in University District

The new CHARCUT will be almost the same size as its existing downtown location with a similar menu and will have a new design reflective of the original location. The restaurant will have 80 seats inside with an additional 60 seats on the three-season patio, as well as a 16-seat private dining room called ‘The Butcherina’, which is an ode to Connie’s background as a ballet dancer.

The restaurant will offer an open kitchen concept and modern design, with a glass window overlooking the full production hanging butchery, visible from any angle within the restaurant. Private events will be a huge draw for Butcherina, with many already lined up following the spring grand opening.

The construction of the future 15-top bar in the CHARCUT University District location, which will also feature a fireplace with soft seating and full-service butchery. 

The new CHARCUT will offer a daytime happy hour and fireplace soft seating for a more relaxed experience, along with a refreshed brand. John shared that the original CHARCUT logo was developed from a ‘how to design your own logo’ CD, proof that the modernized brand look was well overdue. 

The addition of CHARCUT to the growing list of dining options at University District is helping turn the neighbourhood into a true foodie scene. The grand opening this upcoming spring is highly anticipated by both residents and visitors alike. Stay tuned for details. 

To learn more about the new CHARCUT restaurant opening in University District, visit their website.

Join the Discussion

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1 response to “Sneak Peek: A First Look at the New CHARCUT Restaurant at Alt Hotel University District”

  1. Marg McCall says:

    Fantastic news!

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