The Radiant started as an idea between a group of friends that developed into a 1920’s Art Deco inspired dining parlour and lounge with live shows including music, cabaret, burlesque and drag. “We wanted to wow people not only with food and drink, but with the experience as a whole,” says co-owner Christian Dubois, “We wanted to create a totally different experience. We want to give people the opportunity to indulge and linger. This is a place where they can spend the evening.”
The Radiant was born out of the idea that we wanted to do something different. In Banff, there’s a lot of restaurants that offer the same thing, just dressed differently.Christian Dubois, co-owner, The Radiant
The experience of The Radiant is immediately clear the moment you walk through the door. The building is divided into a front parlour with bright windows and a light airy feel. The back is a lounge with an intimate stage and cocktail bar. The 1920’s Art Deco style is an homage to a bygone era. “We knew from the start we wanted a 1920’s Art Deco style with a parlour and a lounge. But one of our partners, B Watson, had a very specific vision. She really pulled it all together. We buy into the experience, right from the art on the walls down to the vessels people are drinking from and even cutlery with that 1920s style,” says Dubois. “It becomes almost to the point where you’re transporting yourself.”
And the transportation comes down to the guests as well. While there is no dress code at The Radiant, there is a growing trend of guests dressing the part in 1920’s costume. “We didn’t expect people to dress up!” says Dubois, “There’s no dress code, you can come as you are and however you want, but we’ve seen that multiple times where people are fully buying into the experience by dressing up, which is really cool. It’s become a fun piece of how people are creating their own experience.”
The throwback 1920s style is also an homage to the history of the building itself, which has been a part of the Harmon family for generations. Byron Harmon, the first official photographer for the Alpine Club of Canada, moved to Banff in 1903. An entrepreneur, he bought the land and opened a movie theatre, which was destroyed by fire in 1917. The rebuild featured Tudor style half timbering and entry pillars from river stone. The building housed many things, including a photo studio, bookstore, beauty parlour and a tearoom.
One of the partners, Sebastian Hutchings, is a descendent of Byron Harmon. His family still owns the building. “The style is also tied into the history of the building,” says Dubois. “When the Harmons first opened up the building after the fire in 1917, they opened a tearoom. Part of the inspiration for the front room is the tearoom that goes back to when the building originally opened. That was part of the design flavour and it also gives a nod to the history of the building.”
While The Radiant boasts an entertainment space and dining experience that goes way beyond food and drink, they still have incredible food and drink. “Food and beverage is always part of the experience, whether it’s part of a show or people coming to dine or even coming for a cocktail.” Delicious food is created by Head Chef Ryan Joseph De Alwis, who says, “Food is communication – a way for me to express myself, provoke response and create dialogue.”
Unique to The Radiant is an in-house pastry chef. Anna-Engle Lebiadowski comes from a background of fine dining kitchens and backcountry cooking. She makes everything in house: from the crackers on the charcuterie board to specific delicacies designed to perfectly compliment Chef Ryan’s unique dishes. She also hand-crafts delightful desserts, all unique to The Radiant.
The cocktails at The Radiant are quickly becoming popular for their surprising combination of flavours and their creativity. “One of our goals is to be the place to go in Banff for cocktails,” says Dubois, “We’re always busy creating new and delicious cocktails for our dynamic menu. We’ll keep any favourites and we can make any traditional cocktails as well. But the hope is to be Banff’s cocktail spot.” With the locally brewed spirits, quality wine at value-prices and creativity that accompanies the entire dining experience, The Radiant’s cocktails are quickly becoming a bestseller.
So whether you’re looking for a classy cocktail experience, a traditional tea or brunch event, an opportunity to see a live show, or just an evening out with friends, The Radiant in Banff has created a unique, fun and exciting space just for that. “It’s an inclusive space,” says Dubois, “We want to welcome everyone from all different kinds of backgrounds and places. Traditionally in Banff, it’s more of an international market, and we want to make sure everyone feels welcome here.”